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The Rival Scientist's Interstellar Almanac for January 2003: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY

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  • Erich Landstrom
    The Rival Scientist’s Interstellar Almanac for January 2003: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY posted by Erich Landstrom, NASA JPL Solar System Educator No purchase is
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 15, 2002
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      The Rival Scientist�s Interstellar Almanac
      for January 2003: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
      posted by Erich Landstrom, NASA JPL Solar System
      Educator

      No purchase is necessary to enjoy the sights in the
      January night sky. In the starry SuperBowl played
      under the winter dome, the constellations of legendary
      linebackers take on the zoo crew. The starting lineup
      features Orion at quarterback, truck driving Aurgia,
      the Gemini Twins, Prince Perseus, King Cepheus, the
      Water boy Aquarius, Princess Andromeda and Queen
      Cassiopeia. On the galactic gridiron against them are
      Taurus �The Bull,� Cetus �The Whale,� Leo �The Lion,�
      Aries �The Ram,� Draco �The Dragon, �Big Bear� Ursa
      Major and �Little Bear� Ursa Minor, and �Big Dog�
      Canis Major and �Little Dog.� Warming on the sidelines
      are lesser known players like Lepus, Lynx, Leo Minor
      and Lacerta the Lizard. Back on the ground, there are
      fun free and nearly free astronaut appearances and out
      of this world contests this month in south Florida.

      An appearance by Scott Carpenter, one of the seven
      original "Right Stuff" astronauts, is being sponsored
      by the Florida Center for the Book, no purchase
      necessary. NASA selected Carpenter in 1959 for the
      manned Mercury missions. Join Capt. Carpenter at the
      Broward County Library branch on the North Campus of
      Broward Community College (1100 Coconut Creek Blvd, in
      Coconut Creek, just off the FL Turnpike) on Saturday,
      January 18 at 1 PM. For more details on his talk, call
      #(954) 969-2600. You can also listen to my live
      interview with Carpenter during a broadcast of
      �Interstellar Transmissions" on Friday night, January
      17 from 7-8 PM over the radio on WWNN AM1470 or over
      the Internet at www.interstellar-transmissions.com
      (again, no purchase necessary, but please support our
      sponsors).

      The Children�s Science Explorium at the Sugar Sand
      Park in Boca Raton invites you to start your day with
      4th American in space, the 2nd to orbit the Earth if
      you�d like to purchase breakfast and Carpenter's book.
      On the morning of the 18th, Capt. Carpenter kicks off
      a brunch and launch of model rockets by shaking hands,
      posing for pictures, and sharing his first-hand
      account of piloting an Atlas rocket and the Aurora 7
      capsule three times around the Earth on May 24, 1962.
      The $35 cost includes a pancake and egg banquet and a
      signed copy of Carpenter's autobiography �For Spacious
      Skies.� Call #561.347.3913 for reservations; space is
      limited to 60.

      From Mercury to Mars � NASA is cosponsoring a contest
      for students to name the Mars Exploration Rovers. The
      twin rovers will land on Mars in January 2004 and
      explore different regions of the red planet one soccer
      field length a day for at least 90 days. To enter the
      contest, no purchase is necessary. Students need to
      downloading a registration form in Adobe Acrobat PDF
      format at www.nametherovers.com, provide names for one
      or both rovers by writing an essay explaining why
      those names should be chosen (50 words for grades K-3,
      250 words for grade 4-7, 500 words for grades 8-12),
      and mail both back to the address indicated on the
      form by January 31. Topics for the essay should relate
      with the mission's theme of exploration. Suggestions
      my students made included Armstrong and Aldrin, and
      Watson and Crick, but since the rover�s scientific
      purpose is to follow the water and inspect interesting
      terrain, I think Lewis and Clarke hews more closely to
      the trail of thought. Check out the rover�s website
      for more mission details at
      http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mer. Grand Prize includes a
      trip to attend the launching of a Mars Rover at the
      Kennedy Space Center in June 2003, when Mars and Earth
      are closest in their orbits. The winner's school
      receives 6 RoboLab products provided by the LEGO
      Educational Division. The contest is only open to
      school children in grades kindergarten through 12th
      grade between the ages of 5 and 18 years registered as
      U.S. resident

      From Mars to the stars � NASA is also cosponsoring a
      star-identifying contest for high school students and
      space enthusiasts alike. The StarNav Contest will
      begin when space shuttle mission STS-107 launches in
      mid-January 2003. Just as stars were used by ships at
      sea to navigate the oceans, they are still the
      preferred method of navigation in space. Instead of a
      sextant, astronauts use images taken from a digital
      camera known as a star tracker to create space maps
      and determine a spacecraft's orientation derived from
      math formulas in a computer algorithm. The StarNav
      Contest will post to the Internet the same pictures
      the star tracker takes for the astronauts. Contestants
      can access these pictures and determine which group of
      stars the star tracker captured; no purchase necessary
      http://starnavcontest.tamu.edu/Acontests.html. The
      first contestant who accurately identifies the group
      of stars pictured within the given time frame will be
      awarded prizes, including t-shirts, a patch of the
      mission flown in space, and cash prizes up to $500.
      During the mission there will be three contests, each
      one with a different level of difficulty. StarNav
      Contests One ("Star Pattern") and Two ("Shuttle
      Orientation") are open to all U.S. students in grades
      9-12, who will have 24 hours to identify the star
      images. The third contest, (�Lost in Space!�), is open
      to anyone who is interested. Participants will have 30
      days to use tables and formulas to identify a specific
      group of stars, which will require the calculation of
      a complicated algorithm. For more information ant to
      register for a contest (the first real-time
      competition that allows users to interact with
      information coming directly from a space shuttle) see.

      LUNAR ALMANAC January 2003 (All times are Eastern
      Standard Time)
      Jan. 1: Moon Rise: 5:59 AM, Moon Set: 4:35 PM
      Jan. 2: New Moon
      Jan. 10: First Quarter Moon
      Jan. 11: Moon at apogee
      Jan. 15: Saturn is 3 degrees south of the Moon, Moon
      Rise: 3:21 PM, Moon Set: 4:42 AM
      Jan. 18: Full Moon
      Jan. 19: Jupiter is 4 degrees south of the Moon
      Jan. 23: Moon at perigee
      Jan. 25: Last Quarter Moon
      Jan. 27: Mars is 0.4 degrees north of the Moon
      Jan. 28: Venus is 4 degrees north of the Moon
      Jan. 31: Moon Rise: 6:43 AM, Moon Set: 5:23 PM

      SOLAR ALMANAC January 2003 (All times are Eastern
      Standard Time at the 80 deg. N. longitude of West Palm
      Beach. Add 20 minutes to each time for each 5� west.)

      Jan. 1: Sun Rise: 7:08 AM, Sun Set: 5:38 PM
      Jan. 15: Sun Rise: 7:10 AM, Sun Set: 5:48 PM
      Jan. 31: Sun Rise: 7:06 AM, Sun Set: 6:01 PM
      ------------------------------------------------------
      PLANET PLACEMENT
      MERCURY exits interior conjunction of the 11th and by
      late in the month will be visible in the southeastern
      morning twilight (mag. 0.0).
      VENUS (mag. -4.4) currently the "morning star" will
      reach greatest western elongation of 47� W on the
      11th, rising almost 4 hours before the Sun in the
      southeastern sky.
      EARTH has North America facing �the wrong way� to see
      the January 4th Quadrantid meteors at its peak. The
      radiant is located halfway between the handle of the
      Big Dipper and the head of Draco the Dragon. In an
      unrelated event, Earth reaches perihelion point of its
      orbit on the 4th � reinforcing that fact that the
      seasons have NOTHING to do with our distance from the
      Sun. Even though Earth is closest to the Sun on the
      4th, the Northern Hemisphere is tilted way away, so
      the days are shorter and colder.
      MARS (mag. +1.4) is on the move through the
      constellations of Libra, Scorpius and Ophiuchus this
      month. In the east-southeast predawn sky of the second
      half of January, VENUS and MARS make a nearly
      equilateral triangle with the �rival of Mars,� the
      star Antares.
      JUPITER (mag. -2.5) in the constellation of Cancer
      rises in the east-northeast during evening twilight.
      Fri., Jan. 17 features a triple transit of Jupiter�s
      moons Io, Europa, and Callisto.
      SATURN (mag. -0.3) at the tips of Taurus and the toes
      of the Twins is about 40� high in the east after
      evening twilight. Saturn is also approaching its
      perihelion, but not until August (since its �year� is
      29 � Earth years long). However, as it comes closer,
      it becomes brighter. At the same time, its rings will
      reach their maximum tilt of 25 degrees in April. This
      spring promises the best views of Saturn that
      telescope owner could wish for. So get out there and
      look!


      =====
      Erich Landstrom, NASA JPL Solar System Educator
      Solar System Educators Program http://www.ssep.org
      [Hands-on teacher training workshops sharing NASA's
      missions of research, discovery and exploration!]

      Science fiction & science fact stranger than fiction.
      Fridays@7PM ET on http://www.INTERSTELLAR-TRANSMISSIONS.com

      __________________________________________________
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