Archive for January, 2011

January 20, 2011

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Upcoming Event: Public Star Party

It is almost time again for another public star party at the Griffith Observatory. The next party is Saturday, February 12 from 2 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. Every month, the Los Angeles Astronomical Society and the Los Angeles Sidewalk Astronomers get together to host a free star party for the public. This allows the public, including families, to view the stars and other objects in the sky through telescopes put out by the observatory. You can also speak to amateur astronomers about their experience and equipment.

Please note that in order to complete the viewings by 9:45 p.m., lines for the telescopes must be closed early. For more information visit www.griffithobservatory.org/pstarparties.html

In addition, be sure to take a look at the calendar of events for Woodland Hills Camera & Telescopes to see when other opportunities are available for you to take part in viewing parties or on your own. There you can find dates for moon phases as well as other significant events so you and your family can share time together gazing at the stars and learning more about astronomy. While you’re there, take a look at our selection of telescopes for astronomers of any age and skill level.

January 19, 2011

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Learning about the Full Moon

Seeing as today is a full moon, you may be wondering about the nature of a full moon and its characteristics. Especially for those new to astronomy or learning about it in school, looking at the different phases of the moon through a telescope or with the naked eye can help visualize where objects are in relation to others. There are resources available to find out when the next full moon will be based on calculations, and Woodland Hills Camera & Telescopes has an online calendar of celestial events that you can see.

What is a full moon?

Full moon is the phase of the moon that appears when the sun and moon are on opposite sides of the Earth. When you look at the moon from the Earth, what you see is that the moon appears to be “full” or completely round. This happens because the moon reflects the light of the sun that is shining onto it. It is also at this time that the opposite side of the moon, away from the Earth, is not illuminated (and thus we hear about the “dark side of the moon”). Depending on where in the sky the moon is when you see it, you may be able to see the southern craters through your telescope. To learn more about the moon or other cosmic events, be sure to look at the calendar linked to above from Woodland Hills Camera & Telescopes.

January 18, 2011

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

Today in Astronomy History

Today we decided to take a look back at notable events in the history of science, space and astronomy. On this day in 1986, the 24th Space Shuttle Mission, Columbia 7 (STS-61C), returned to Earth. Seeing as this is the 25th anniversary of that date, we wanted to take a deeper look at the mission and see what came out of it. Here are some quick facts about this Columbia mission:

  • The mission was originally scheduled to launch on December 18, 1985 but was delayed a day due to orbiter issues.
  • The launch on December 19 was scratched at T- 14 seconds due to concerns that the right rocket booster hydraulic power unit was exceeding redline limits for RPM. This delayed the launch to January 6, 1986.
  • After bad weather and errors with launch, the mission launched on January 12, 1986 with no delays.
  • On this mission, the SATCOM KU-I satellite was deployed.
  • A 35mm camera set to photograph Comet Halley, known as the Comet Halley Active Monitoring Program (CHAMP), did not work due to batter problems with the camera.
  • The shuttle was scheduled to land January 17 but was forced to extend by one revolution and land at Edwards due to inclement weather at Kennedy Space Center.

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