OKLAHOMA SPACE ALLIANCE
A Chapter of the National Space Society

Oklahoma Space Alliance Home 

OUTREACH May 2009

May Meeting NOTE CHANGE IN TIME

          Oklahoma Space Alliance will meet at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 16 at the Koszorus' house in Norman. Prospective members are also welcome. Their house is at 514 Fenwick Court in Norman.
          To get the meeting either: (1) Take the Robinson Street west exit off I-35. Proceed west to 36th Street where you will turn left, and go south until you turn left on Rambling Oaks (about half a mile north of Main Street). Fenwick Court is the third street on the left. Tom's house is the last on the left side, or (2) Take the Main Street west exit off I-35, proceed west past the Sooner Fashion Mall, and turn right at 36th Street, and go north until you turn right on Rambling Oaks (about half a mile north of Main Street). Fenwick Court is the third street on the left. Tom's house is the last on the left side.

Agenda:

  1. Introductions (if necessary)
  2. Read and approve agenda
  3. Read and approve minutes and reports of activities
  4. Read and discuss mail
  5. Old Business
    1. Space Week Project for Second Life
    2. Start Up Kit for Chapters in Second Life
    3. ISDC
    4. 40th Anniversary of Moon Landing (July 2009)
    5. Programming and Con Suite at SoonerCon 2009.
    6. Governors proclamation of Space Week
    7. Research funding
  6. New Business
  7. Create New Agenda

SoonerCon 2009

          The SoonerCon 2009 science fiction convention will be held June 5 – 7 at the Biltmore Hotel, 401 S. Meridian Avenue in Oklahoma City, OK 73108. The Guest of Honor will be Dave Wolverton (aka David Farland) and the Artist Guest of Honor is Brad Foster. The Toastmaster, as always, is Selina Rosen. For more information on the convention, visit www.soonercon.com. Wolverton/Farland has been nominated for both Hugo and Nebula Awards and won the Writers of the Future contest in 1987.
          Oklahoma Space Alliance will be hosting the con suite one night during the convention and also contribute some space programming.
          Nancy Peay, who often attended our events, especially at conventions, died unexpectedly at the beginning of May and Brad and Jennene Stanley will be hosting a wake in her honor. 
          Pre-registration for SoonerCon is currently $30.00 and that rate lasts until June 3. There is a special hotel rate of $72.00 per night if you book under the code SoonerCon.

ISDC 09

          The 2009 International Space Development Conference is May 28 - 31 at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, just outside of Orlando, Florida. There will also be a Space Investment Summit on May 27 which requires separate registration. Current registration is $175 for the conference and $150 for the Summit.
          The resort is twenty minutes from Universal Studios and Seaworld, and not far from Disney World. The conference rate is $145 per night. For more information, visit www.isdc2009.org.
          At present time Claire and Kip McMurray and Tom Koszoru are planning on going from Oklahoma Space Alliance.

Minutes of April Meeting

          Oklahoma Space Alliance met at the McMurray house on May 18. Attending were Claire and Clifford McMurray, Syd Henderson and Tom Koszoru.
          We have lost the big display at the Norman Public Library to their Summer Reading Campaign. There are two flat display cases in the main reading room. Claire will check to see if we can use them. There is a whole wall there we can put stuff on. We should be looking for book covers to put in the cases around the rovers. We need to put together a book and video list.
          Kip want to do a cookout in early June.
          We had a total of eight people on Yuri’s Night. Syd needs to put notes for Yuri’s Night on our webs site.
          The Planetary Society needs to be in the contact information in the back of the newsletters. The Air Space Museum at Science Museum Oklahoma should be eliminated. [I’ve replaced it with a generic contact for the Science Museum.—SFH]
          Can we get Kim Vowell to send us minutes for the May 27 OSIDA meeting?
          Syd will pay the $54 fee for the Post Office Box and be reimbursed.
          David Baxter wants governors of all fifty states to designate July 16-24 (the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission) as a space observance. July 20 would be Space Exploration Day.
          The ISDC preliminary schedule is now on-line.
          Check Virgin Galactic for updates on their web site.
          The most visible thing we will be doing at SoonerCon will be covering the con suite. Tom has videos and equipment. We need to see about getting stomp rockets. Tom has a large cooler. We discussed refreshments. Since we are covering the con suite, we will need to bring refreshments for that period; Cookies, chips, queso, corn balls, candy, carrots, ranch dressing. We can make our own veggie tray. Dotson has 7-grain chips.
          We need to talk to Leonard about panels at SoonerCon.
          Find a way to fund a business school project at OU on marketing the Oklahoma Spaceport.
          We need to bring cameras to SoonerCon.
          Tom wants to request a deadline on our startup kit.
          We can do a scale model of the Solar System.
          Take Space Solar Power off agenda for May and add for June.
          We can do a quiz at SoonerCon. We need prizes for a quiz panel.

Viewing Opportunities for Satellites (May 15 – July 1)

          You can get sighting information at www.heavens-above.com/. Heavens Above allows you to get Station data for 10 day periods, and gives you a constellation map showing the trajectory of the satellite. If you go to the bottom of the map page, it will give you a really detailed map with the location at 10 or 15-second intervals, depending on detail. In fact, the detailed charts will even show you the tracks against maps of the constellations, which should help you if you are familiar with the night sky.
          Sky Online (the Sky & Telescope web site) carries station observation times for the next few nights at skyandtelescope.com/observing/almanac. Note that with the addition of the solar panels, the magnitude of the Space Station can be as bright as magnitude -2.7, making it brighter than all the stars other than the Sun, although magnitude -1 to -2 is more likely. The Hubble Space Telescope can get up to magnitude 1.5, which is brighter than the stars in the Big Dipper, although, since it is lower in the sky, it is a bit more difficult to see. 
          Missions to the Space Station or Hubble Space Telescope may change its orbit. I am writing this during the final repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, so the times for the Telescope are particularly suspect. Be sure to check Heavens Above or www.jsc.nasa.gov/sightings/ before going out to watch.

Station   May 27, 2009
Time           Position           Elevation
9:55 p.m.            323°                    17°
9:56                    334                    35
9:57                      40                    61
9:58                    107                    35
Vanishes into Earth’s shadow

Station   May 29, 2009
Time           Position           Elevation
9:11 p.m.            319°                    18°
9:12                    328                    36
9:13                      41                    69
9:14                    114                    36
9:15                    123                    18

HST   June 11, 2009
Time                Position           Elevation
10:29 p.m.            221°                   20°
10:30                    203                    27
10:31                    177                    31
Vanishes into Earth’s shadow

HST   June 12, 2009
Time                Position           Elevation
10:27 p.m.            225°                   21°
10:28                    206                    28
10:29                    179                    32
Vanishes into Earth’s shadow

HST   June 13, 2009
Time                Position           Elevation
10:25 p.m.            228°                   21°
10:26                    209                    28
10:27                    183                    32
Vanishes into Earth’s shadow

Station   June 18, 2009
Time                Position           Elevation
5:45 a.m.            212°                   18°
5:46                    199                    34
5:47                    136                    58
5:48                      71                    34
5:49                      59                    17

Station   June 20, 2009
Time                Position           Elevation
Appears from Earth’s shadow
5:00:40 p.m        211°                   26°
5:01                    206                    35
5:02                    137                    65
5:03                      66                    35
5:04                      56                    18

          Pass times are from Heavens Above
          Key: Position is measured in degrees clockwise from north. That is, 0° is due north, 90° is due east, 180° is due south, and 270° is due west.  Your fist held at arm's length is about ten degrees wide. "Elevation" is elevation above the horizon in degrees. Thus, to find the Hubble Space Telescope at 10:29 p.m. on June 11, measure four fist widths west of due South, then two fist-widths above the horizon.
          All times are rounded off to the nearest minute except for times when the satellite enters or leaves the shadow of the Earth. The highest elevation shown for each viewing opportunity is the actual maximum elevation for that appearance.
          J-Pass provides a service called J-Pass Generator, which will e‑mail you sighting information for the next three days for up to ten satellites. For more information, go to science.nasa.gov/Realtime/JPass/PassGenerator/.

 Sky Viewing

          The Scorpionid meteor shower peaks during the next month. This shower actually has two peaks, the first on May 16, with the radiant (the point the meteors appear to come from) near the bright star Antares, and the second on June 2 a bit closer to the head of the Scorpion. The Scorpionids only produce three to five meteors per hour at their peak, but those meteors are often very bright and move relatively slowly across the sky.
          Mercury is currently lost in the sunrise as it approaches inferior conjunction with respect to the Sun on May 18. It will become more visible in early June as it approaches greatest western elongation on June 13. The best place to look is in the east-northeast about a half-hour before sunrise. Mercury should be visible through the rest of June.
          Venus is magnitude -4.7 and easily visible low in the east just before dawn. However, it will rapidly separate from the Sun during the next few weeks as it nears its greatest western elongation on June 5. Venus will be very bright throughout the month of June.
          Jupiter is magnitude -2.3 in the southeast just before dawn. (The constellation is Capricornus, but the planet is a lot easier to find than the constellation.) Jupiter will be rising earlier each evening, and by the middle of June will be rising before midnight.
          Saturn is magnitude 0.8 and is in the constellation Leo, which is in the south at sunset. It will continue to be visible in the evening sky throughout June, not setting before midnight until the end of the month. The rings of Saturn are about 4° from being edge-on, but will be edge-on in September, about the time Saturn will be in conjunction with the Sun.
          Uranus is in the eastern sky before sunrise. By mid-June, it will be well up in the sky in the constellation Pisces. Uranus is only magnitude 5.8, so you will probably need binoculars to see it.
          Neptune is only magnitude 7.9, but may actually be easier to locate, since on late May, it will only be 0.5° degrees northwest of Jupiter. Because of retrograde motion, the two planets will meet again in July and in December.
          The dwarf planet Ceres will only be magnitude 8.7, but will be relatively easy to locate since it will pass very close to the third-magnitude star Theta Leonis from June 18 through 21. It’s possible to see Ceres in dark skies with binoculars, but easier with a small telescope. A locator map is on page 43 of the June issue of Astronomy.

Space News: Hubble Space Telescope Repair Mission

          The space shuttle Atlantis was launched at 2:01 p.m. EDT on Monday, May 11, on what will be the last repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. Oklahoma Space Alliance members Claire and Clifford McMurray attended the launch and will be sharing their impressions at the Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting.
          The launch went off at the scheduled time with nary a hitch. Three of the seven crew members, commander Scott Altman and specialists John Grunsfeld and Michael Massimino, have been to the space telescope before; Grunsfeld in 1999 and 2002, and Altman and Massimino in 2002. The other four crew members, pilot Gregory Johnson and specialists Megan McArthur, Michael Good and Andrew Feustel, have not been in space before.
          This mission is considered to be considerably more risky than the previous missions, and space shuttle Endeavour is ready in case something goes wrong and the astronauts need a rescue. (If they don’t need one, Endeavour’s going up to the Station in mid-June.) Atlantis can’t go to the Space Station itself in an emergency since the Station is in an orbit 130 miles lower and at a very different inclination. There’s a mildly increased possibility this time of collision from space junk from the collision of two satellites on February 10.
          Atlantis is carrying six gyroscopes which will allow Hubble to continue to operate until 2014, by which time the James Webb Space Telescope will hopefully be in space at the L2 Earth-Sun Lagrangian point. (That’s the one a million miles from Earth on the side opposite the Sun.) Note, though, that the Webb telescope operates in the infrared, while the Hubble operates in visible and ultraviolet light. Another proposed telescope, AT-LAST (the Advanced Technology Large-Aperture Space Telescope) would surpass the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope at optical, infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths, but if it is launched, it will be by Ares V, which won’t come online until 2018 at the earliest.
          The astronauts will also be installing the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, which measures spectra in ultraviolet light, and the Wide Field Camera 3, which can photograph in the infrared, visible and ultraviolet. The astronauts are also carrying an IMAX camera for the production of a 3D film about the Hubble Space Telescope.
          This final repair flight is the first since the Columbia disaster and almost didn’t happen at all. For a while, the Telescope was just going to be deorbited, although there were proposals for robotic repair missions. It was finally decided that a manned mission was more practical, and that the long wait until the Webb Telescope will be in orbit justified keeping Hubble going for five more years (at least). This flight was to take place last fall, but because of the failure of the Science Instrument Command and Data Handling Unit last September, the Atlantis mission was delayed so that this unit could be replaced as well. While they’re at it, the astronauts will replace the nickel hydrogen batteries, which is a pretty complicated operation.
          The whole mission is expected to last eleven days, with Atlantis landing on May 22.

Space News: Herschel Space Observatory

          While the Atlantis astronauts are servicing the Hubble Space Telescope, it is about to be surpassed as the largest space telescope. On May 14, the European Space Agency is going to launch the Herschel Space Observatory, formerly known as the Far Infrared and Sub-Millimetre Telescope, or FIRST. Herschel will probe a region of the electromagnetic spectrum that has never been observed before, most of that with a wavelength between 60 and 670 microns. All of this, except for two bands around 350 and 450 microns, is blocked by water vapor in the atmosphere, and none of the previous space observatories has probed this region.
          The region between visible light (0.4 - 0.7 microns) and 100 microns is the infrared, and that between 100 and 1000 microns (=0.1 – 1 millimeter) is called terahertz radiation. (A terahertz is a trillion cycles per second. The frequency of T-Rays actually goes from 300 gigahertz to 3 terahertz.) Beyond terahertz radiation on the spectrum is the extremely high frequency (EHF) region of the microwave radio spectrum. EHF is used by radio astronomers. Terahertz radiation is also called T-rays and didn’t really begin to be exploited until a few years ago.
          In order to observe the sky in the far infrared and terahertz region, the instruments of the Herschel Space Observatory must be cooled to under two degrees Kelvin, which is why Herschel carries more than two thousand liters of liquid helium. This is only enough for about three years of operations. Since Herschel will be at the L-2 Earth-Sun Lagrangian point, it will not be serviceable by astronauts.
          Among the astronomical phenomena to be observed by Herschel will be the very early formation of galaxies, star formation, and molecular chemistry. It will be especially useful for exploring galaxies whose light has been red-shifted into the terahertz part of the spectrum.

          Articles on the Herschel Space Observatory this month include; “Cosmic Dream Team” by Michael A. Taverna, Aviation Week & Space Technology, April 6, 2009, pp 38 – 41. “Cool Eye on the Cosmos,” by Michael Rowan Robinson and Matt Griffin, New Scientist, April 4, 2009, pp. 32 – 33.

More Space News

          A gamma-ray burst detected on April 23 resulted in the detection of the most distant object yet known. GRB 090423 occurred 630 million years after the Big Bang, and is believed to have been caused by the explosion of a super-massive star. It is thought that the first stars formed between 200 million and 400 million years after the Big Bang.
          Meanwhile, a team of astronomers at the Carnegie Institute of Washington have detected a blob of matter 55,000 light years across and dating back to about 800 million years after the Big Bang. The blob has been dubbed Himiko after a Japanese queen of legend. Himiko is by far the largest object found in the early universe, with a mass of 40 billion suns. That’s about half the diameter of the Milky Way, and a tenth of the mass.          

          The White House has requested an increase of $1.2 billion in NASA’s Earth sciences over five years. Between the 2009 and 2010 budgets, the Obama administration is seeking an additional $2 billion dollars for the NASA budget. It is possible one more flight might be added to the shuttle manifest: it would install the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the Space Station. Whether this mission will be flown depends on the state of the NASA budget.
          The budget proposal also includes $3.5 billion for the Constellation programs in FY2010, after which the cost will jump to $5.5 billion per year. This coincides with the phasing out of the space shuttle program over FY 2011 and FY 2012. However, the Constellation program is currently under review by an independent panel which will issue a report this summer.
          The budget proposal also supports a mission to Europa, to be done jointly with the European Space Agency. If this is the same as the Europa Jupiter System Mission, it would include the Jupiter Europa Orbiter to explore Europa and Io, and the Jupiter Ganymede Orbiter to study Ganymede and Callisto. Europa and Ganymede come in for special attention because each of them is likely to have a water ocean under its icy surface. This Europa Orbiter mission is not to be confused with the one that was cancelled in 2002.
          You can examine the FY 2010 budget request at http://www.nasa.gov/news/budget/index.html. The whole pdf file is 8.7 megabytes in size and also gives you estimates through FY 2014.

          Venetia Burney Phair died April 30 at the age of 90. Venetia’s a footnote person in the history of astronomy because at the age of 11, she was the first person to suggest the name Pluto for a newly discovered planet. She also has an asteroid named after her (6235 Burney) as well as an instrument on the New Horizons Pluto probe.

Calendar of Events

          May 16: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 4:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
          May 16: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club Member Night at the Cheddar Ranch Observatory. For information and directions, visit www.okcastroclub.com.
          May 18: Mercury is in inferior conjunction with the Sun.
          May 23: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club Member Night at the Cheddar Ranch Observatory. For information and directions, visit www.okcastroclub.com.
          May 27: Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting, 1:30 p.m. Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City
          June 2: Earliest date for the launch of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. It will assume a polar orbit. The mission will last at least a year. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Reconnaissance_Orbiter or lunar.gsfc.nasa.gov/. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will be the first mission in the Vision for Space Exploration. The Lunar Crater Observing and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) on the same mission will search for water ice on the Moon’s North and South Poles.
          June 5: Venus is at greatest western elongation, 46° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
          June 5 – 7. SoonerCon 2009 science fiction convention at the Biltmore Hotel in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma Space Alliance will be providing space programming and will run the con suite for several hours on Saturday. For more information, visit www.soonercon.info, call 632‑2848 or write SoonerCon, 6006 S. Western, Oklahoma City, OK 73139.
          June 10: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City. This meeting may be moved to Oklahoma Aerospace Summit in Tulsa on June 17.
          June 12: Oklahoma City Astronomy Club Meeting, 7:30 p.m., Science Museum Oklahoma (formerly Omniplex). Sign-up for the Girl Scout Star Party on June 27 is at this meeting. There is a novice session at 6:45 in the planetarium. Web site is www.okcastroclub.com.
          June 13: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 23° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
          June 13: Launch of Endeavour with third section of the Japanese Kibo Module to the Space Station.
          June 20: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
          June 27: Regional Girl Scout Star Party at the Cheddar Ranch Observatory. For more information and directions, visit www.okcastroclub.com.
          June 29: Pluto is at opposition.
          July 8: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City
          July 14: Mercury is in superior conjunction with the Sun.
          July 18: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
          July 20: 40th Anniversary of first manned landing on the Moon.
          July 22 (July 21 in America): Total solar eclipse visible in central and eastern India, Bhutan and China. This eclipse will be visible to more people than any other in history (provided the sky is clear, of course).
          August 6: Launch of Atlantis to the Space Station
          August 10: Saturn’s rings are edge-on with respect to the Sun.
          August 12: Peak of Perseid meteor shower.
          August 12: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City
          August 14: Jupiter is at opposition.
          August 15: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
          August 17: Neptune is at opposition.
          August 24: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 27° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
          Late August: Ares I-X flight test at Kennedy Space Center. This will be the first flight test for the Constellation launch vehicle.
          September 4: Saturn’s rings appear edge-on.
          September 9: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City
          September 16: Uranus is at opposition.
          September 17: Saturn is in conjunction with the Sun.
          September 19: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
          September 20: Mercury is in inferior conjunction with the Sun.
          September 30: MESSENGER's third flyby of Mercury.
          October: Russia launches Phobos-Grunt, a sample return mission to Martian moon Phobos. A Chinese Mars Orbiter will be part of the mission. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phobos-Grunt.
          October 5: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 18° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
          October 8: Mercury is 0.3° south of Saturn.
          October 13: Venus is 0.6° south of Saturn.
          October 14: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City
          October 17: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
          October 21: Peak of Orionid meteor shower.
          October 29: Venus is in inferior conjunction with the Sun.
          November 1: Launch of WISE, the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Satellite. This satellite is 500 times as sensitive at IRAS. For more information, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wide‑field_Infrared_Survey_Explorer 
          November 5: Mercury is in superior conjunction with the Sun
          November 12: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City
          November 12: Launch of Atlantis to the Space Station
          November 17: Peak of Leonid meteor shower.
          November 21: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
          December 9: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority Meeting, 1:30 p.m., Commission Room at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation Building, 200 NE. 21st. Street, Oklahoma City
          December 14: Peak of Geminid meteor shower.
          December 18: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 20° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
          December 19: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
          December 21: the eclipsing binary Epsilon Aurigae begins its total eclipse. This will last until March 12, 2011. This is the longest known eclipse of any eclipsing binary.
          January 2010: Annular solar eclipse visible in central Africa.
          January 11, 2010: Venus is in superior conjunction with the Sun.
          January 27, 2009: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 25° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
          January 29, 2010: Mars is at opposition with magnitude -1.3.
          February 2010: Launch of Endeavour to the Space Station
          February 11, 2010: Launch of Atlantis to the Space Station. This is last scheduled mission for Atlantis.
          April 8, 2010: Launch of Discovery to the Space Station. This is the last scheduled launch for Discovery.
          May 31, 2010: Launch of Endeavour to the Space Station. This is the last scheduled mission for any space shuttle.
          May 2010: Japan launches the Venus Climate Orbiter (aka Planet‑C) to Venus. Web page is www.jaxa.jp/projects/sat/planet_c/index_e.html.
          June 2010: Hayabusa returns to Earth with a sample of asteroid Itokawa.  This will be the first asteroid sample returned to Earth. Web site is www.isas.jaxa.jp/e/enterp/missions/hayabusa/index.shtml.
          July 10, 2010: The Rosetta comet probe passes asteroid 21 Lutetia.
          July 11, 2010: Total solar eclipse in southern Chile and Argentina.
          September 21, 2010: Jupiter is at opposition. This is the closest Jupiter will come to Earth in the next 20 years, about 370 million miles.
          December 2010: Japan’s Venus Climate Orbiter arrives at Venus.
          December 21, 2010: Total eclipse of the Moon, visible just after midnight in North and South America.
          March 18, 2011: MESSENGER goes into orbit around Mercury.
          June, 2011: Total eclipse of the Moon, visible in South America and most of Eastern Hemisphere.
          August 2011: Launch of the Juno mission to Jupiter. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juno_(spacecraft) or http://juno.wisc.edu/ for details.
          October 2011: Dawn probe orbits Vesta. See dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/  or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn_Mission for details.
          October -December 2011: The Mars Science Laboratory is launched. See marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ for details. [Moved from October 2009]
          October 2011 – April 2012: Dawn probe orbits Vesta.
          December 10, 2011: Total eclipse of the Moon. This one is at its best in Russia, eastern Asia, Australia, Alaska and the Yukon, but the early part of the eclipse will be visible in the rest of North America.
          Sometime in 2012: Russia launches the “Luna-Glob” mission which will deploy 13 mini-probes upon the lunar surface.
          March 3, 2012: Mars is at opposition at magnitude -1.2. This is the worst opposition for the next twenty years.
          April 2012: Dawn probe leaves orbit around Vesta for Ceres.
          June 6, 2012: Venus transits the Sun's disk.  The early part of this will be visible from the United States, but the full transit will only be visible from the western Pacific Ocean, eastern Asia, eastern Australia, and eastern Indonesia including New Guinea.
          Fall 2012: The Mars Science Laboratory rover lands on Mars. See marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ for details.
          June 2013: Earliest date for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.
          August 2013 (approximate): The European Space Agency/JAXA BepiColombo Mercury Orbiter is launched. Home page is sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=30.
          August 2014 - December 2015: The Rosetta space probe orbits comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In November, 2014, it will release the Philae lander. See September 5, 2008 for website information.
          Sometime in 2015 or 2016: Launch of SIM PlanetQuest (aka the Space Interferometry Mission). This mission was originally supposed to have been launched in 2005 and has been delayed at least five times. It was recently moved from 2012. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Interferometry_Mission.
          February 2015: Dawn space probe arrives at Ceres. Operations are scheduled to continue through July. Dawn may continue on to other asteroids if it is still operational.
          July 14, 2015: The New Horizons probe passes through the Pluto-Charon system. The New Horizons web site is pluto.jhuapl.edu/.
          Sometime in 2016: ESA launches the ExoMars Mars Rover. For more information, visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exomars.
          July 2016-2020:  The New Horizons probe visits the Kuiper Belt.
          August 21, 2017: The next total solar eclipse visible in the United States, on a pretty straight path from Portland, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina.  St. Louis is the biggest city in-between.
          August 2019 (approximate) BepiColombo arrives at Mercury orbit.
          April 8, 2024: A total solar eclipse crosses the US from the middle of the Mexico-Texas border, crosses Arkansas, southern Missouri, Louisville, Cleveland, Buffalo and northern New England.
          August 12, 2045: The next total solar eclipse visible in Oklahoma.  This one is also visible in Salt Lake City, Denver, Little Rock (again), Tampa Bay and New Orleans.

Space-Related Articles

          The May issue of Astronomy is dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the invention of the telescope.

          The May 1 issue of Science has four articles on the second Mercury flyby of Messenger. One finding is that Mercury’s magnetic field, which is about a hundredth as strong as Earth’s, doesn’t keep the solar wind from impacting the planet’s surface. This produces an extremely thin atmosphere containing heavy ions ejected from Mercury’s surface

Oklahoma Space Alliance Officers, 2009 (Area Code 405)

Tom Koszoru, President                                        366-1797 (H)
Claire McMurray, Vice-President/Update Editor   329-4326 (H) 863-6173 (C)
Syd Henderson, Secretary & Outreach Editor       321-4027 (H)
Tim Scott, Treasurer                                              740-7549 (H)

OSA E-mail Addresses and Web Site:

claire.mcmurray at sbcglobal.net (Claire McMurray)
T_Koszoru at cox.net (Heidi and Tom Koszoru)
sydh at ou.edu (Syd Henderson)
ctscott at mac.com (Tim Scott)
lensman13 at aol.com  (Steve Galpin)
dmcraig at earthlink.net (Nancy and David Craig).
         E-mail for OSA should be sent to sydh@ou.edu.  Members who wish  their e-mail addresses printed in Outreach, and people wishing space-related materials e-mailed to them should contact Syd.  Oklahoma Space Alliance website is chapters.nss.org/ok/osanss.html. Webmaster is Syd Henderson.

Other Information
          
          Oklahoma Space Industrial Development Authority (OSIDA), 401 Sooner Drive/PO Box 689, Burns Flat, OK 73624, 580-562-3500.  Web site www.state.ok.us/~okspaceport.
          Science Museum Oklahoma (former Omniplex) website is www.sciencemuseumok.org. Main number is 602-6664.
          Tulsa Air and Space Museum, 7130 E. Apache, Tulsa, OK  74115.
Web Site is www.tulsaairandspacemuseum.com.  Phone (918)834-9900.
          The Mars Society address is Mars Society, Box 273, Indian Hills CO 80454. Their web address is www.marsociety.org.
          The National Space Society's Headquarters phone is 202-429-1600.  The Chapters Coordinator is Bennett Rutledge 720-529-8024.  The address is:  National Space Society, 1620 I (Eye) Street NW Ste. 615, Washington, DC 20006.    Web page is www.nss.org.  
          The Planetary Society phone 626-793-5100. The address is 65 North Catalina, Avenue, Pasadena, California, 91106-2301 and the website is www.planetary.org. E-mail is tps@planetary.org.
          NASA Spacelink BBS  205-895-0028.  Or try www.nasa.gov.  .
          Congressional Switchboard 202/224-3121.
           Write to any U. S. Senator or Representative at [name]/ Washington DC, 20510 (Senate) or 20515 [House].

 

 OKLAHOMA SPACE ALLIANCE
 A Chapter of the National Space Society

 MEMBERSHIP ORDER FORM
                                                                     
Please enroll me as a member of Oklahoma Space Alliance.  Enclosed is:
                                    $10.00 for Mem­bership.  (This allows full voting privileges, but covers only your own newsletter expense.)
___________________ $15.00 for family membership

                                     TOTAL  amount enclosed

          National Space Society has a special $20 introductory rate for new members ($35 for new international members).  Regular membership rates are $45, international $60.  Student memberships are $20.  Part of the cost is for the magazine, Ad Astra.  Mail to: National Space Society, 1620 I (Eye) Street NW, Washington DC 20006, or join at www.nss.org/membership. (Brochures are at the bottom with the special rate.) Be sure to ask them to credit your membership to Oklahoma Space Alliance.
          To join the Mars Society, visit.  One-year memberships are $50.00; student and senior memberships are $25, and Family memberships are $100.00.    Their address is Mars Society, Box 273, Indian Hills CO 80454.

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OSA Memberships are for 1 year, and include a subscription to our monthly newsletters, Outreach and Update.  Send check & form to Oklahoma Space Alliance, 102 W. Linn, #1, Norman, OK 73071.

 

To contact Oklahoma Space Alliance, e-mail Syd Henderson.
102 W. Linn St. #1
Norman OK 73069
Copyright ©2007 Oklahoma Space Alliance.