Celestial events in the skies for the week of August 22-28, 2017 as compiled for The Loafer by Mark D. Marquette.
How did you like the Great American Eclipse? Because of The Loafer’s Friday deadline, look for my observations next week in the Tuesday, Aug. 29th issue. Meanwhile, we have the Moon moving into our evening skies, the beautiful crescent being the guilty suspect in the solar coverup Aug. 21st.
Tuesday, August 22
The Moon is still too close to the Sun to be seen, or is it. As it is new phase passing in front of the Sun at about 2:25 pm EDT, it is challenging to see the eastern edge of craters within 24-36 hours into the first lunar day on the earth-facing side.
Wednesday, August 23
You probably can see the Moon tonight as a super-thin crescent in the evening twilight. The next few days the Moon will make a beautiful photograph for you Shutterbugs because it’s easy to get a foreground object in the image for important perspective. Just use a telephoto lens or zoom out to about 300mm, and expose for the dark lunar seas. At 400 ISO and 300mm lens at F5.6, the full phase Moon is exposed at around 1/250th of a second, so crescent phases are around 1/60th . Bracket your exposures and have fun framing the beautiful Moon with earthly landscapes.
Thursday, August 24
The Summer Triangle is an asterism of three constellations: to the north is Deneb in the tail of Cygnus the Swan, also looking like a giant Northern Cross; distinctly white Vega is the brightest in Lyra the Harp, and Altair is the southern point in Aquila the Eagle, a small cross of stars.
Friday, August 25
Two beautiful weekend evenings today and tomorrow as the waxing Moon moves through Scorpius from planet Jupiter in Virgo to Saturn in Ophiuchus.
Saturday, August 26
Paired with their brighter planet partner in the sky are two well-known stars. In the evening, western twilight, Jupiter shines brightly gold with distinctly white Spica to its left, the brightest star in Virgo the Virgin. To the left of the Moon is the red heart of Scorpius, Antares, with yellow Saturn to the star’s left.
Sunday, August 27
On this 1985 date in space history, NASA launched Space Shuttle Discovery on a “pay for delivery to orbit” mission for three clients. Communications satellites were deployed for Australia, American Satellite Co. and the US Department of Defense at about $50 million each (plus cost of the satellite) as the Space Transportation System of NASA began ramping up to pay for itself. This mission even retrieved and repaired in the cargo bay another satellite of DOD that was deployed and failed in April 1985.
Monday, August 28
On this 2009 date STS-128 with orbiter Discovery was rocketed into orbit for the International Space Station. The seven crew members spent 10 days docked to the ISS delivering the Leonardo logistics module loaded with physics and chemistry experiments to be conducted in zero gravity, correctly called “micro gravity.”