Astronomical highlights this week

Weather Headlines

Highlights

  • Reports from Virginia and the Carolinas are coming in from Sunday night around 9:25 pm.. Keep an eye on AMS Meteors as reports are verified and a path is calculated.
  • Aug. 21: NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Andrew Morgan will make the 5th spacewalk of the year, installing the International Docking Adapter-3 (IDA-3) readying the station for new SpaceX and Boeing crew ships. The spacewalk begins at 8:20 am EDT and will be broadcast on NASA TV.
  • Aug. 21: A Russian Soyuz rocket will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 11:38 p.m. EDT. There will be no crew aboard, this is a test of a new launch abort system.
  • Aug. 22: A ULA Delta 4 rocket will launch the second GPS 3 satellite from Cape Canaveral at 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT).
  • Fri Aug 23 10:56:04: last quarter moon

On This Day

  • Aug 25, 1989 Voyager 2 is the first spacecraft to fly by Neptune
  • On August 22, Last quarter is a great time to observe the Moon. The Sun’s low angle creates long shadows that make craters and mountain ranges easy to see, without a telescope.

Last quarter is a great time to observe the Moon. The Sun’s low angle creates long shadows that make craters and mountain ranges easy to see, without a telescope.

Near Earth Objects (NEO)

lunar distance (LD) is the mean distance to the moon ~239k miles. Anything within 1 LD is newsworthy. For more information see NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies

This week

object close approach date uncertainty LD million
miles
2019 PK 2019-08-18 05:14Z < 1 sec 10.9 ~3
2016 PD1 2019-08-26 08:35Z < 1 sec 11.3 ~3
2002 JR100 2019-08-27 22:37Z < 1 sec 19.3 ~5
2019 OU1 2019-08-28 10:27Z <1 hour 2.7 ~1

Closest

within object close approach date uncertainty lunar distances million
miles
~14 days 2019 OU1 2019-08-28 10:27Z <1 hour 2.7 ~1
~1 year 2019 OU1 2019-08-28 10:27Z <1 hour 2.7 ~1
~100 years 2010 RF12 2095-09-05 23:53Z ~16 hours 0.0 1,098+ miles

Planet visibility

body (phase) rise transit (alt) set constellation
Mercury (77%) 05:10:18 12:19:39 (68??) 19:28:16 Cancer
Venus (99%) 06:34:08 13:25:02 (63??) 20:15:01 Leo
Moon (85%) 21:59:59 04:00:20 (47??) 10:08:42 Cetus
Mars 06:50:53 13:36:12 (62??) 20:21:03 Leo
Saturn 17:44:03 22:28:27 (27??) 03:08:44 Sagittarius
Jupiter 15:33:37 20:14:53 (27??) 00:59:59 Ophiuchus

Sample rise/set times for 08/19/19

Satellite Passes

This information is best used to identify passes worth sharing or skipping. Those nearest overhead are closest, brightest, and longest. Check dates and times for each pass before your share.

International Space Station (ISS)

  • below trees pass begins Sat 2019-08-24 05:51:18 EDT from the SSE (147°) reaches 11°, lasts 2 minutes
  • fair pass begins Mon 2019-08-26 05:48:17 EDT from the SSW (199°) reaches 31°, lasts 6 minutes
  • exceptional pass exits Earth’s shadow 13° above the horizon Wed 2019-08-28 05:47:27 EDT from the SW (233°) reaches 88°, lasts 6 minutes

Starlink (SpaceX)

The info below can and will change as these satellites are moved into their final orbits. Use the Heavens Above link below for up to date predictions

  • pass begins Mon 2019-08-19 22:11:56 EDT from the WNW (302°) reaches 56°, enters Earth’s shadow 56° above the horizon 4 minutes later
  • pass begins Tue 2019-08-20 22:06:38 EDT from the WNW (296°) reaches 40°, enters Earth’s shadow 39° above the horizon 4 minutes later
  • pass begins Wed 2019-08-21 22:01:25 EDT from the WNW (290°) reaches 29°, enters Earth’s shadow 27° above the horizon 4 minutes later
  • pass begins Thu 2019-08-22 21:56:19 EDT from the error (282°) reaches 21°, enters Earth’s shadow 19° above the horizon 4 minutes later
  • pass begins Fri 2019-08-23 21:51:28 EDT from the W (271°) reaches 15°, enters Earth’s shadow 12° above the horizon 4 minutes later
  • pass begins Sat 2019-08-24 21:47:16 EDT from the WSW (251°) reaches 11°, lasts 2 minutes

Atmospheric drag and other factors can and does cause orbits to change. See the European Space Agency supported Heavens Above for the latest pass predictions. Satellite pass gradings are based on altitude reached and duration of the pass. Higher altitude passes are closer to the observer and generally brighter as a result. Satellites other than ISS are much more difficult to spot.

Moon Phases

date phase
Fri 2019-08-23 10:56:04 last quarter
Fri 2019-08-30 06:37:07 new
Thu 2019-09-05 23:10:23 first quarter
Sat 2019-09-14 00:32:44 full

Sun

Sunrise/set

Date Rise Solar noon (alt) Set sunlight
Mon 2019-08-19 06:28 13:17 (62.22??) 20:06 13 hrs 37 min
Tue 2019-08-20 06:29 13:17 (61.89??) 20:04 13 hrs 35 min
Wed 2019-08-21 06:30 13:17 (61.56??) 20:03 13 hrs 32 min
Thu 2019-08-22 06:31 13:17 (61.23??) 20:01 13 hrs 30 min
Fri 2019-08-23 06:32 13:16 (60.89??) 20:00 13 hrs 27 min
Sat 2019-08-24 06:33 13:16 (60.55??) 19:58 13 hrs 25 min
Sun 2019-08-25 06:34 13:16 (60.20??) 19:57 13 hrs 22 min
Mon 2019-08-26 06:35 13:16 (59.86??) 19:55 13 hrs 20 min
Tue 2019-08-27 06:36 13:15 (59.51??) 19:54 13 hrs 17 min
Wed 2019-08-28 06:37 13:15 (59.16??) 19:52 13 hrs 15 min
  • lost 0:22:16 (hh:mm:ss) of daylight over this period
  • daylight (HH:MM): 13:26
  • mean: sunrise 06:33 sunset 19:60
  • max: sun angle 62.22??

Twilight

date rise set
Mon 2019-08-19 04:45 21:50
Tue 2019-08-20 04:46 21:48
Wed 2019-08-21 04:47 21:46
Thu 2019-08-22 04:49 21:44
Fri 2019-08-23 04:50 21:42
Sat 2019-08-24 04:52 21:40
Sun 2019-08-25 04:53 21:38
Mon 2019-08-26 04:54 21:36
Tue 2019-08-27 04:56 21:35
Wed 2019-08-28 04:57 21:33

Covers Mon 2019-08-19 01:00 through Thu 2019-08-29 01:00 . Calculations are for Altoona, PA (40.4780,-78.4213) at an elevation of 341 m and are expressed in local (US/Eastern) time and a 24-hour clock.

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