This weeks upcoming predictable space and astronomy events and anniversaries (10 – 16 March 2014)

March 9, 2014 | By | Add a Comment
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Posted 9 March 2014 This post is biased towards events that can be seen with the unaided eye or via the Internet. It also can only cover predictable events. Random events such as asteroid impacts won’t be listed. Where events are time specific, I have listed the events in AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time) and AEDT (Australian Eastern Daylight Time).

Planets: Jupiter will continue to be prominent as the brightest ‘star’ in the early evening sky. Look above the Northern horizon at the end of evening twilight to locate it. Mars is now just under a month from its 2014 opposition (useful information on the 9 April 2014 opposition here and here) and is now visible low above the Eastern horizon after 8 pm AEST / 9 pm AEDT. Note that as Earth and Mars draw closer, Mars will continue to become noticeably brighter. Saturn rises just after 9:20 pm AEST / 10:20 pm AEDT.  As for Mars, look for Saturn low on the Eastern horizon.

Venus is the brightest ‘star’ in the morning twilight sky. To locate Venus, look above the Eastern horizon as the sky brightens. Mercury will be visible in the bright morning twilight sky low above the Eastern horizon (closer to the horizon than Venus). Mercury rises around 3:50 am AEST / 4:50 am AEDT mid-week. If you haven’t seen Mercury, it will be much easier to see at a more convenient time in the evening twilight sky later this year (September and October 2014). Both Uranus and Neptune are located too close to the glare of the Sun for useful observation.

International Space Station: The International Space Station is visible low in the evening sky this week for Canberra, Australia on the 10 and 12 of March 2014. Information on passes for Canberra (with links to finder charts) can be found here. Go here for satellite viewing information / predictions for all Australian locations.

Monday 10 March 2014: Look below the gibbous Moon to see Jupiter (which appears to the unaided eye as a bright star). Evening sky.

Tuesday 11 March 2014 Expedition 38/Soyuz TMA-10M undocking from the International Space Station scheduled for 11:02 am AEST / 12:02 pm AEDT. NASA TV will cover this event live.

Tuesday 11 March 2014 ISS Expedition 38/Soyuz TMA-10M landing near Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan scheduled for 2:24 pm AEST / 3:24 pm AEDT. NASA TV will cover this event live.

Wednesday 12 March 2014: 6 am AEST Moon at apogee (furthest point in its orbit from the Earth at 405,364 km)

Thursday 13 March The 233rd anniversary (1781) of the discovery by Sir William Herschel of the planet Uranus while in the garden of his house at 19 New King Street in the town of Bath, Somerset, England (now the Herschel Museum of Astronomy). He initially reported it on April 26, 1781 as a “comet”. In recognition of Herschel’s achievement, King George III gave Herschel an annual stipend of £200 on the condition that he move to Windsor so that the Royal Family could have a chance to look through his telescopes. Herschel proposed that Uranus be named after King George III and be called Georgium Sidus or George’s Star. The German astronomer Johann Bode proposed that the new planet be called Uranus after the (Latinised) name of the Greek god of the sky, Ouranos.

Friday 14 March 2014: 4 pm AEST Mercury at greatest elongation West (27.6 degrees). Look for Mercury in the morning sky low above the Eastern horizon as morning twilight begins.

Sunday 16 March 2014 88th anniversary (1926) of the launch of the first liquid fueled rocket by Robert Goddard in the United States. A photograph of Goddard standing next to this historic rocket can be found here on Astronomy Picture of the Day.

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