Podcaster: Dr. Al Grauer
Title: Travelers in the Night Eps. 53 & 54: Where Is Juno & Tour A Neighbor World
Organization: Travelers in The Night
Organization: Travelers in The Night
Description: Today’s 2 topics:
- The NASA Juno spacecraft began its 5 year trip to Jupiter on August 5, 2011. In order to conserve rocket fuel, it will travel more than 18 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun.
- Our Moon is the only other world whose surface can be easily viewed by humans. The 59% of its surface visible from Earth is about 53 times the area of the state of California. It has a fascinating landscape which continues to impress observers.
Bio: Dr. Al Grauer is currently an observing member of the Catalina Sky Survey Team at the University of Arizona. This group has discovered nearly half of the Earth approaching objects known to exist. He received a PhD in Physics in 1971 and has been an observational Astronomer for 43 years. He retired as a University Professor after 39 years of interacting with students. He has conducted research projects using telescopes in Arizona, Chile, Australia, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Georgia with funding from NSF and NASA.
He is noted as Co-discoverer of comet P/2010 TO20 Linear-Grauer, Discoverer of comet C/2009 U5 Grauer and has asteroid 18871 Grauer named for him.
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41E – 53 – Where Is Juno
The planet Jupiter is less important to us than the Earth, Sun, and Moon. However, it hold clues about the formation of our solar system and does send some comets towards us while causing others to miss our home planet.
The NASA Juno spacecraft began its 5 year trip to Jupiter on August 5, 2011. In order to conserve rocket fuel, it will travel more than 18 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun. It received a gravitational boost from Earth in October of 2013 and is on a path to rendezvous with Jupiter. In August of 2016, an on board rocket will be fired to slow the space craft to put it into an 11 day polar orbit around the gas giant. After completing its mission of 33 orbits the rocket will be once again be fired causing the spacecraft to enter and burn up in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere. It will be destroyed to prevent it from colliding with any of Jupiter’s moons.
Once in orbit, the Juno Spacecraft will use infrared and microwave sensors to look deep into Jupiter’s atmosphere. Astronomers will thus measure the distribution of water and oxygen in the largest planet in our solar system. They will also be able to test theories of how our solar system formed by mapping the distribution of matter in Jupiter’s interior and providing a better estimate of its core mass.
Jupiter has much to tell us about the history of our solar system. The Juno spacecraft will unlock some of its secrets. You can follow this mission’s progress on the NASA Juno website.
42E – 54 – Tour a Neighbor World
Our Moon is the only other world whose surface can be easily viewed by humans. The 59% of its surface visible from Earth is about 53 times the area of the state of California. It has a fascinating landscape which continues to impress observers.
You can use a small telescope or binoculars to view lava flows, mountains, craters, walls, wrinkle ridges, rays, and rills on our Moon. Some of the craters have mountain peaks at their center. There are even craters on craters. Many of these landforms were created by the impact of asteroids or comets. Others were formed by volcanic activity on the Moon. The Earth itself probably had many such features which have been erased over the eons by the actions of wind, water, and ice. They are still there on the Moon because it has no atmosphere.
When the Moon is full it is at its brightest. However, this is not the best time to see its surface details.
Your driveway’s surface seems rougher when viewed with your headlights at night. This happens when light strikes features from the side rather than straight down. In the same way, the Moon’s features can be best seen along the line of dark and shadow which is called the terminator. Every night as the Moon changes phases this line will be in a different place.Use it to make the various features on the Moon easy to see.
For Travelers in the Night this is Dr. Al Grauer
End of podcast:
365 Days of Astronomy
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