(TMU) – The third partial penumbral lunar eclipse of this Lunar month coincides with the Buck Full Moon and occurs on July 4/5, ending the eclipse season.
June’s Full Strawberry Moon’s partial penumbral eclipse started the eclipse season and was followed by the Annular Solar Eclipse on June 21, where those fortunate to have been in the path of visibility would have witnessed the ‘ring of fire’ at the peak of the eclipse and we finish with the Buck Full Moon on this coming Saturday and Sunday.
The Buck Moon got its name because this is the time when the buck’s antlers are in full growth. July’s Full Moon is also known as the Thunder Moon because of the frequent thunderstorms during the month.
On Earth, we experience an eclipse when the light from the Sun or Moon is blocked by another celestial body, in our case, Earth or our Moon. During a solar eclipse, the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth and blocks the sunlight, casting its shadow over Earth.
A lunar eclipse occurs when Earth blocks the light of the sun from reaching the Moon, casting its shadow onto the moon.
The Moon has no light of its own and is visible from Earth because it reflects the sun’s light. As the Moon passes through Earth’s shadow (umbra), the Sun’s light reflecting off the Moon is dimmed or blocked.
We experience two types of eclipses on Earth, solar and lunar eclipses and each occur during a specific alignments between Earth, the Moon and the Sun.
For a full lunar eclipse to occur, these three celestial bodies need to be perfectly aligned which will result in the Moon passing through the darkest part of Earth’s shadow (the umbra) which covers the Moon completely.
During a penumbral lunar eclipse, they are in an imperfect alignment and the Moon passes through Earth’s outer shadow, the penumbra, and makes the Moon’s light only slightly darker and is often difficult to detect.
Weather permitting, most of North America (excluding Alaska and Canada) and South America will have the best view of the eclipse. In New York City the eclipse will start at 11:07pm on Saturday, July 4, just in time to mark the end of Independence Day celebrations.
The eclipse will reach its maximum at 12:29am on Sunday, July 5, at which point half of the moon’s surface will become slightly darker, after about an hour and a half, at 1:52am, the eclipse will be over.
While South/West Europe and much of Africa will have visibility at Moon rise on July 5, in some areas in Europe, the event will be fleeting, ranging from a few minutes around the west coast of Greece to Croatia, to just over 38 minutes in London, where it will start at 4:07:23am, reaching maximum at 4:47:13am and visible until Moonset will finish at 4:45:43am.
While the duration of the eclipse will be much longer in Africa, more than 2 hours in total, the moon will be below the horizon by the end of the eclipse.
Unfortunately for those in the East, including India, North/East Europe, Asia, Japan and Australia, the penumbral eclipse will be below the horizon for the duration and not visible at all.
Remember to check and confirm visibility and time for your area by clicking here and set a reminder to look to the skies to view the final eclipse of this Lunar month.
Having three eclipses in one Lunar month is not as rare as it may seem, during the first 50 years of this century, from the years 2000-2050, a total of 14 three-eclipses-in-one-month will occur. The next one will be in 2027.
Chinese Military Satellite Smashed by Russian Rocket in “Major Confirmed Orbital Collision”
In an incident that is likely illustrative of things to come, Chinese military satellite 1-02 was smashed after it appears to have collided into the debris from a disintegrating Russian rocket.
The collision, which occurred earlier this year, shows the increasing danger of space junk such as satellite parts and other miscellaneous jetsam littering the Earth’s orbit. An estimated 8,000 metric tons of space debris pose the risk of destroying functional equipment such as weather forecasting systems, telecoms and GPS systems – and even manned space travel missions – if the problem isn’t reined in.
The fate of the Chinese satellite was uncovered by Harvard astrophysicist and satellite tracker Jonathan McDowell.
The breakup of Yunhai 1-02 was initially reported by the U.S. Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron (18SPCS). However, it wasn’t until recently that McDowell found out what caused the breakup.
The astrophysicist soon found that it was destroyed by space junk that originated from a Russian Zenit-2 rocket that had launched a spy satellite in 1996. On Aug. 14, McDowell found a strange entry in a database on Space-Track.org: “Collided with satellite.”
“This is a new kind of comment entry — haven’t seen such a comment for any other satellites before,” McDowell tweeted.
“A quick analysis of the TLEs show that Yunhai 1-02 (44547) and [the debris object] passed within 1 km of each other (so within the uncertainty of the TLEs) at 0741 UTC Mar 18, exactly when 18SPCS reports Yunhai broke up,” he added, noting that this “looks to be the first major confirmed orbital collision in a decade.”
However, the Yunhai satellite still remains functional and is transmitting radio signals, notes Space.com.
The incident shows the growing likelihood of such collisions in the high-traffic, littered near-Earth orbital zone.
“Collisions are proportional to the square of the number of things in orbit,” McDowell explained. “That is to say, if you have 10 times as many satellites, you’re going to get 100 times as many collisions.”
He added: “So, as the traffic density goes up, collisions are going to go from being a minor constituent of the space junk problem to being the major constituent. That’s just math.”
A worst-case scenario of such collisions is known as the “Kessler Syndrome,” and describes the possibility of one collision setting in motion a chain of collisions. Such a disaster was the premise of the 2013 film “Gravity.”
One hopes that things don’t reach that point.
In the meantime, however, there have been a number of initiatives meant to tackle the growing problem of space debris, such as the ELSA-d spacecraft launched in a demonstration mission earlier this year.
Scientists Find Possible New Signs of Alien Life on Saturn’s Icy Moon
A new study suggests that Saturn moon Enceladus, which is covered in an icy crust, could be a great place for life to exist.
New evidence collected by NASA’s retired Cassini spacecraft offers tantalizing details on the chemical makeup of the water plumes erupting from Enceladus.
The heavy amount of methane – a gas associated with life on Earth – suggests that underneath the icy crust of Enceladus, there could be a huge ocean of briny water potentially teeming with life.
The new study by researchers from the University of Arizona and Paris Sciences & Lettres University also found that there was a relatively high concentration of molecules of dihydrogen and carbon dioxide.
“We wanted to know: Could Earthlike microbes that ‘eat’ the dihydrogen and produce methane explain the surprisingly large amount of methane detected by Cassini?” asked University of Arizona associate professor and lead author of the study Prof. Regis Ferriere.
Scientists have long speculated that conditions on Enceladus, with its subsurface ocean and sources of warmth, could be conducive to the development of living creatures.
However, one possible explanation for the chemical composition of water on Enceladus could be the existence of microbes on the Saturn moon.
“In other words, we can’t discard the ‘life hypothesis’ as highly improbable,” Ferriere noted. “To reject the life hypothesis, we need more data from future missions.”
Confirmation of the “life hypothesis” will likely remain elusive for the foreseeable future.
“Searching for such microbes, known as methanogens, at Enceladus’ seafloor would require extremely challenging deep-dive missions that are not in sight for several decades,” Ferriere said.
Stunning New Images Show Glowing Auroras on Mars
A new probe from the UAE to study the atmosphere of Mars has captured never-before-seen images of a night time aurora on the Red Planet.
The UAE’s Hope Mars mission was meant to study the Martian atmosphere over the course of the year across the totality of its layers. However, before its actual scientific mission began, it managed to snap the shots of the extremely brief phenomenon, reports Space.com.
In images released on Wednesday, the auroras stand out clearly as bright flashes against the pitch-black night sky.
The chance discovery – which wasn’t even a part of the probe’s formal mission – shows the exciting finds other nations’ space programs are capable of finding.
“They’re not easy to catch, and so that’s why seeing them basically right away with [Emirates Mars Mission] was kind of exciting and unexpected,” said Justin Deighan, the deputy science lead of the mission and a planetary scientist at the University of Colorado.
“It’s definitely something that was on our radar, so to speak, but just looking at our first set of nighttime data and saying, ‘Hey, wait a second — is that? — it can’t be — it is!’ — that was a lot of fun,” he added.
On Earth, auroras or “northern lights” are the result of electrons surfing across the electric field during geomagnetic storms, causing atmosphere particles to ionize and create the colorful and dazzling light shows.
On Mar, similar auroras seem unrestricted by the north and south poles and happen across the rest of the planet.
This is because the magnetic atmosphere isn’t aligned like a bar magnet, as it is on Earth.
Rather, the Martian magnetic more resembles a situation where “you took a bag of magnets and dumped them into the crust of the planet,” Deighan told the New York Times.
“And they’re all pointed different ways,” he said. “And they have different strengths.”
This results in solar wind particles firing off in different directions, causing interactions with molecules and atoms across the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere and triggering the aurora.
The Mars Hope team hopes the discovery can lead to fresh insights on how the planet’s atmosphere interacts with solar activity.