Forget. October 2020 is all about the glory of Mars, as the glimmering red planet puts on a show in the night sky. We passed Mars’ close approach to Earth on Oct. 6 and now we’re pumped for Oct. 13, when it will be in opposition.
Mars has a reputation as the “red” planet, but its color in the night sky is a little more on the Halloween side of the spectrum. It appears as a bright orange-red dot to the naked eye, like a little spot of glittering rust.
Mars’ distinctive color is one clue you’ve found it in the dark. Look to the eastern sky to catch it rising at night. This is a great time for viewing the planet, partly because spotting it is so simple. It should be visible for most of the night. As NASA says, “Simply go outside and look up and, depending on your local weather and lighting conditions, you should be able to see Mars.”
Check out ourif you want some extra help with locating the planet.
Opposition: Oct. 13
When Mars and the sun line up with Earth in the middle, the red planet is said to be in opposition. This is a perfect time to track Mars’ movement across the sky. It will rise in the east as the sun goes down, move across the sky and then set in the west as the sun comes up.
NASA describes opposition as “effectively a ‘full’ Mars.” Tuesday, Oct. 13 is the time to enjoy opposition. You’ll have to wait over two years for it to happen again.
The Virtual Telescope Project, which brings us live feeds of celestial events, will stream a Mars opposition viewing starting at 1 p.m. PT. on Oct. 13. It’s a perfect way to enjoy the action without weather worries. For people in the US, it will give you a preview of what to look for after sundown.
The project expects this to be “the best observing conditions since July 2018.”
“The racetrack model of planetary orbits explains why. Earth and Mars are like runners on a track. Earth is on the inside, Mars is on the outside,” NASA said in its What’s Up blog for October. “Every 26 months, speedy Earth catches up to slower Mars and laps it. Opposition occurs just as Earth takes the lead.”
Mars isn’t the only show-off in the sky for October. You can alsowhen our lunar neighbor is full on Oct. 31. It’s not spooky; it’s boo-tiful.
Rewind to the close approach on Oct. 6
Tuesday, Oct. 6 marked the close approach of Mars to Earth, but this entire month is still a good time to grab a telescope and get a little better look. Give a wave towhile you’re at it. The vehicle is on track to reach the planet in February 2021.
NASA shared an artist’s view of the Tuesday, Oct. 6 close approach compared with the last time it snuggled up in July 2018. The apparent sizes look very similar. This year, Mars had a minimum distance of 38.6 million miles (62 million kilometers), which is about 3 million miles farther away than in 2018.
Close approach may be over, but the planet is still plenty bright in the night, so get out and take a gander, or tune into the Virtual Telescope Project’s live feed from the comfort of your computer.
Trio returns to Earth after 6 months aboard International Space Station – CBC.ca
A trio of space travellers safely returned to Earth on Thursday after a six-month mission on the International Space Station.
The Soyuz MS-16 capsule carrying NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, and Roscosmos’ Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner landed on the steppes of Kazakhstan southeast of the town of Dzhezkazgan at 7:54 a.m. local time Thursday. After a brief medical checkup, the three will be taken by helicopters to Dzhezkazgan from where they will depart home.
The crew smiled as they talked to masked members of the recovery team, and NASA and Roscosmos reported that they were in good condition.
As part of additional precautions due to the coronavirus, the rescue team members meeting the crew were tested for the virus and the number of people involved in the recovery effort was limited.
Cassidy, Ivanishin and Vagner spent 196 days in orbit since arriving at the station on April 9.
NASA’s Kate Rubins and Roscosmos’ Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov arrived at the orbiting outpost a week ago for a six-month stay.
Before the crew’s departure, Russian cosmonauts were able to temporarily seal the air leak they tried to locate for several months. The small leak has posed no immediate danger to the station’s crew, and Roscosmos engineers have been working on a permanent seal.
In November, Rubins, Ryzhikov and Kud-Sverchkov are expected to greet NASA’s SpaceX first operational Crew Dragon mission comprising NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker, and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Soichi Noguchi. It follows a successful Demo-2 mission earlier this year.
Osiris-Rex: Nasa asteroid mission confident of success – BBC News
.css-94m6rd-HeadingWrapperborder-bottom:solid 1px #BABABA;padding-bottom:1.5rem;.css-94m6rd-HeadingWrapper > *:not([hidden]):not(style) ~ *:not([hidden]):not(style)margin-top:1rem;
.css-14iz86j-BoldTextfont-weight:bold;“We really did kind of make a mess.”
That was Dante Lauretta’s take after reviewing the first pictures to come down from .css-yidnqd-InlineLink:linkcolor:#3F3F42;.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visitedcolor:#696969;.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visitedfont-weight:bolder;border-bottom:1px solid #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focusborder-bottom-color:currentcolor;border-bottom-width:2px;color:#B80000;@supports (text-underline-offset:0.25em).css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visitedborder-bottom:none;-webkit-text-decoration:underline #BABABA;text-decoration:underline #BABABA;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:1px;text-decoration-thickness:1px;-webkit-text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-decoration-skip-ink:none;text-underline-offset:0.25em;.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:hover,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:link:focus,.css-yidnqd-InlineLink:visited:focus-webkit-text-decoration-color:currentcolor;text-decoration-color:currentcolor;-webkit-text-decoration-thickness:2px;text-decoration-thickness:2px;color:#B80000;Nasa’s Osiris-Rex probe following its bid to grab a sample from asteroid Bennu on Tuesday.
Dust and grit flew in all directions but that was good news, enthused the University of Arizona professor.
“Everything that we can see from these initial images indicates sampling success. So in case you can’t tell, I’m pretty excited.”
The principal investigator’s team now has to work out precisely how much material Osiris-Rex might have lifted from the surface of 500m-wide Bennu.
If it’s a kilo or more, it would represent the biggest extra-terrestrial sample cache since the Apollo astronauts gathered rocks from the Moon some 50 years ago.
But even a smaller amount would still be a great prize.
Bennu is a very primitive object, with chemistry preserved from the dawn of the Solar System more than 4.5 billion years ago. As such, it can tell us a great deal about how the Sun and the planets came into being.
Osiris-Rex used what had been described as a “reverse vacuum cleaner” to acquire its clutch of “soil”.
More properly called the Touch-and-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism, or Tag-Sam, this device comprised a long boom with a ring-shaped collection chamber on the end.
The idea was to deliver a squirt of nitrogen when the Tag-Sam made contact with the asteroid.
The hope was this gas would stir up Bennu’s fragmented surface, leading to a considerable number of rocky pieces getting trapped inside the collection chamber.
The downlinked pictures certainly suggested the strategy was the right one.
Osiris-Rex may have been in contact with Bennu for only six seconds before retreating, but the sampling ring was flat and stable, and even pressing into the soil slightly. This should have maximised the chances of retaining material.
Rich Burns, Nasa’s project manager on the mission, lauded the the way his team managed to put the probe in just the right place on Bennu – almost exactly at the centre of the targeted sampling zone.
“We’re over 320 million km away from Earth at this point, and we touched this asteroid within a metre of where we intended to. So that’s extraordinary and a real credit to our team,” he told reporters.
On Thursday, engineers will command the spacecraft to take detailed pictures of the sampling ring to try to see what it contains.
And then on Saturday, they’ll make Osiris-Rex spin itself around with the Tag-Sam outstretched. Any extra mass on board will change the level of torque required to turn the probe, compared with the level that was needed to perform the same rotation exercise prior to sample acquisition.
“We are expecting a final sample mass measurement report on Monday,” explained Sandy Freund, the mission operations manager at Lockheed Martin, the company that manufactured Osiris-Rex.
It seems highly likely that Osiris-Rex has achieved its objective of taking at least 60g off Bennu. But if it hasn’t, there are two more nitrogen bottles still aboard the probe to facilitate further sampling bids. And there’s plenty of time, too.
The spacecraft is not scheduled to depart Bennu for Earth until April next year. A landing on Earth for any rock cache in this timeline would be late 2023.
Prof Lauretta once again on Wednesday’s paid tribute to the British scientist who conceived Osiris-Rex.
This was Bristol-born Michael Drake who held senior science positions at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
He worked up the concept for the mission but sadly died in 2011, aged 65, just months after Nasa had green-lit the project.
“I’m pleased to see that my dad’s legacy is being honoured at this exciting time in Osiris-Rex’s mission,” Michael Drake’s son, Matt Drake, told BBC News.
“My father’s idea to study near-Earth asteroids as a means of peering back in time to the birth of the Solar System finally came to fruition during [Tuesday’s] Tag event.
“As the principal investigator of this team from its inception until his passing almost 10 years later, he would have been incredibly proud of his team’s accomplishments.”
Osiris-Rex carries a plaque of remembrance to Michael Drake.
Rare 'blue moon' to appear on Halloween this year – Richmond News
The year 2020 has brought many surprises and this year’s Halloween is no different.
A rare “blue full moon” will be appearing on Halloween night this year.
While the moon will not look blue, the term “blue moon” is given when two full moons appear in a single month.
A full moon on Halloween occurs roughly once every 19 years – a pattern known as the Metonic Cycle.
The next illuminated Halloween full moon, says astronomers, after 2020 will be in the 2039, 2058, 2077 and 2096.
St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto declares COVID-19 outbreak among ER staff – Sudbury.com
Trio returns to Earth after 6 months aboard International Space Station – CBC.ca
Calgary's post-pandemic economy poised for 6.9% expansion in 2021, report says – CBC.ca
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Richmond BBQ spot speaks out about coronavirus rumours Vancouver Is Awesome
- Health22 hours ago
Alberta medical experts call for mandatory COVID-19 restrictions based on hospitalization numbers
- Tech23 hours ago
The Best iPhone 12 Cases & iPhone 12 Pro Cases, From OtterBox To Casetify – Forbes
- Business23 hours ago
Google accused of abusing market power in landmark US case
- Tech22 hours ago
iPhone 12 Pro Max Has Smaller 3,687 mAh Battery According to Regulatory Filing
- Science20 hours ago
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx grabs rocks from asteroid in historic mission – Al Jazeera English
- Sports16 hours ago
Mirtle: Ilya Mikheyev is signed. What that means for the Maple Leafs and the cap – The Athletic
- Media21 hours ago
InvestorChannel's Media Watchlist Update for Tuesday, October 20, 2020, 16:30 EST – InvestorIntel
- Science23 hours ago
New Research Provides Comprehensive Reconstruction of End-Permian Mass Extinction | Paleontology – Sci-News.com