On this day in 1949, Cape Canaveral is officially selected as a future site for US rocket launches and long-range flights. Negotiations with the British government begin for installation of a string of tracking stations along the islands of the Bahamas.
Arcturus, a giant orange star, is the 4th brightest star in the night sky. You can find it in the east at 9:00pm. Arcturus is the brightest star in the constellation Boötes the Herdsman.(Although photographically it appears yellow, Arcturus is considered to be an ‘orange’ star due to its surface temperature.)
In 1965 on this date, Luna 5, an unmanned Soviet lunar probe, was launched. After experiencing gyroscope and engine problems, it crashed into the moon some 700km from its intended soft-landing site, and became the second Soviet probe to reach the Moon.
At 9:00pm, you will find a kite-shaped group of stars high in the eastern sky. This is the spring constellation Boötes the Herdsman.
On this date in 1984, Progress 21, an unmanned Soviet resupply flight, was launched to the Salyut 7 orbital station.
The star Vega can be found rising in the northeast by 10 pm. Vega will be the North Star in about 12, 000 years. The North Star changes due to something called precession.
In 1961 on this date, Alan Bartlett Shepard Jr. became the first American in space aboard his Mercury capsule MR-3, Freedom 7. He would also walk on the Moon in 1971, as commander of the Apollo 14 flight.
The Eta Aquariid Meteor Shower peaks tomorrow morning. This is a moderate meteor shower that produces about 10 – 30 meteors per hour for northern hemisphere observers. Your best bet will be to observe during predawn hours looking east southeast. The radiant for this meteor shower, in the constellation Aquarius, can be found rising in… Continue reading
On this date in 2007, Walter Marty “Wally” Schirra Jr. died of natural causes. He was a member of the first crew to rendezvous in space and was commander of the first Apollo manned flight.
Look for the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter together in the southeast tomorrow morning during predawn hours. The moon will be exhibiting a waning gibbous phase with about 53% of the lunar disk illuminated.