Hey Space Placers!
Date: August 1, 2023
Time: 8:31 p.m. EDT
Location: Wallops Flight Facility, Virginia
The DMV, weather permitting https://wtop.com/weather/ , has a chance to see a rocket launch that will soar into the sky and be visible to many in the mid-Atlantic region and possibly the East Coast https://www.nasa.gov/feature/wallops/2023/watch-the-next-antares-nasa-cargo-resupply-launch-from-wallops . Scheduled for launch at 8:31 pm EDT from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility https://www.nasa.gov/centers/wallops/home this will be Northrop Grumman’s 19th commercial resupply services mission for NASA https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/launch/northrop-grumman.html.
If you are out of the viewing area you can attend the launch virtually https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-invites-public-to-share-in-northrop-grumman-s-19th-cargo-mission.
The Cygnus spacecraft S.S. Laurel Clark https://www.northropgrumman.com/wp-content/uploads/Laurel-Clark-Biography.pdf will deliver cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html on this mission to support scientific investigations and studies of spacecraft fire protection, neural cell models for potential gene therapy, the density of Earth’s uppermost atmosphere, and other experiments, along with a memory card that contains creative works from students around the world.
Live coverage and countdown commentary will begin at 8 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, Aug. 1, and air on NASA Television https://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/#public and the agency’s website, as well as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and the NASA App.
If the launch does take place, viewers in the DMV need to check the graphic for what time they should be looking after launch. As stated by NASA Wallops,”Viewing locations on Chincoteague Island include Robert Reed Park on Main Street or Beach Road spanning the area between Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. The Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Atlantic beaches also provide good viewing locations.”
Also, “Members of the public can experience the thrill of a rocket launch in person from the launch viewing area at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center. The Visitor Center will have special hours on launch day, opening from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. EDT. The Visitor Center will not be open outside of the launch viewing event on Aug. 1 to allow for event preparation. Visitors interested in viewing the launch from the Visitor Center are encouraged to carpool as parking is limited. More launch viewing information is available on the visitor center website https://www.nasa.gov/centers/wallops/events/viewing_launches.html.”
Don’t rush back inside after the rocket fades from view as August’s Super Blue Sturgeon Moon https://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/news-display.cfm?News_ID=1047 will be rising in the Southeast abut 30 minutes after sunset - check Each month’s Full Moon has a variety of names associated with it https://www.space.com/39238-full-moon-names.html.
But we get a bonus Tuesday with the Full Moon also being a Supermoon https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/news/922/what-is-a-supermoon/ , the second of four in a row for 2023 https://wtop.com/national/2023/07/two-supermoons-in-august-mean-double-the-stargazing-fun/. Tuesday’s Supermoon is also the first of TWO Supermoons in August so we will have a Blue Moon too at the end of the month.
To see the Super Blue Sturgeon Moon is easy as it will rise in the Southeast and be in the sky all night. Saturn will be to the lower left of the Moon. Try to watch the Moon rise https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/ just as it is clearing your horizon so you can possibly experience the “Moon Illusion” https://earthsky.org/space/video-the-moon-illusion/?mc_cid=315bfbed0e&mc_eid=9aeb2a4318 . This is quite a beautiful sight to see and experience.
Oh, and when looking at the Moon, wink at it in remembrance of Neil Armstrong https://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/aug/HQ_12_600_armstrong_family.html - the first human to walk on the Moon. Korea, India, China and NASA have current active missions at the Moon https://www.planetary.org/space-missions/every-moon-mission while Russia and India will try for uncrewed rover and lander touchdowns in August https://spectrum.ieee.org/lunar-landing.
I am hoping to be in Virginia Beach to photograph the rocket launch and the Supermoon as it rises above the sea horizon - both events should be something to see. You might want to try photographing them as well, especially if you see them near a landmark or in the mountains or sea shore. Just set your smartphone or camera to Auto mode and see what you got. Make any necessary adjustments and try again.
Looking ahead in August, join me at Shenandoah National Park, August 11-13, for the Night Sky Festival and Perseid Meteor Shower https://wtop.com/things-to-do-in-dc/2023/07/grab-a-telescope-and-a-lounge-chair-the-shenandoah-night-sky-festival-returns/ . I’ll have more on the Perseids next week but the meteor shower is currently active https://www.amsmeteors.org/2023/07/meteor-activity-outlook-for-july-29-august-4-2023/.
Sky Guy in VA