OKLAHOMA SPACE ALLIANCE
A Chapter of the National Space Society

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OUTREACH September 2010

September 2010 Meeting (NOTE DATE AND LATER TIME)

         At the July meeting, Oklahoma Space Alliance voted to move their monthly meetings to the second Saturday of each month because so many members had developed conflicts on the third Saturday.
         Oklahoma Space Alliance will meet at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 11 at Tom and Heidi Koszoru’s house in Norman. Prospective members are also welcome. The 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. The Koszoru 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. Old Business
    1. Start Up Kit for Chapters in Second Life
    2. Research funding
    3. Book Reports
    4. A New OSA Logo
    5. Treasurer’s Report
    6. 50th Anniversary of Manned Space Flight (Yuri's Night 2011)
    7. Space Solar Power
    8. Marketing for Burns Flat
    9. Supporting drivers for Starbase
  5. Read and discuss mail
  6. New Business
    1. We’ve received 50 copies of the new Ad Astra for distribution. (see next section)
  7. Create New Agenda

Ad Astras

         National Space Society (or at least the Chapters Committee) is now sending us 50 copies of Ad Astra each publication, which is apparently now March, June, September and December. I just received the fall issue, which I’ll be bringing to the August meeting for distribution. 
         John Northcutt’s reply to my e-mail: “Good to hear about the 50 Ad Astras, we need to decide how to distribute them.  One idea might be to put 10 each at the local libraries for free distribution....jdn”
Claire McMurray’s response: “I suggest one or two to local libraries who would put them in the "current magazine" section. (Most won't file them unless they get a subscription for a couple of years.) Then distribute some to members who can leave them in doctor's offices, repair shops, & other waiting rooms where magazines are found. Ask if anyone is going to a convention in the next 3 months, and send along a dozen or so. Keep a couple for random opportunities.
            “The main thing is to get them to the next meeting, decide who's going to what library, and then keep them handy (& non-rumpled) in members' cars.”

Minutes of August Meeting

         Oklahoma Space Alliance met at the Koszoru house on August 14. Attending were Tom and Heidi Koszoru and Claire and Clifford McMurray and Syd Henderson.
         Members should send their individual contributions for Starbase Oklahoma to Tim so he can send the combined contribution. Claire will have to tell him where to send it.
         Grant request: SpaceX is looking for payloads for Dragon Lab (in addition to cargo to the Space Station). Perhaps the Mars Mice project would be interested. It may be better for the Mars Society to apply for grant.
         Tom has offered $50.00 for someone to draw a logo based on what we came up with: Two horizontal launch vehicles and someone looking out a portal at Earth.
         Yuri’s Night: We need to contact radio station, but first we need credibility like a speaker. Do we want to have a formal dance, charging $75 – 100? Can the Stafford museum handle a fancy dinner?
         We might be able to get by with a casino night as an educational organization. Doing it as a fundraiser is questionable.
         The idea of Yuri’s Night is to get people together. Wouldn’t a fancy dinner limit the number of students who could come? We would have to have an afternoon party for kids. Tom has 20-odd discs from the ISDC that could be used for an event.
         Call the Student Union to see what kind of band is available. Which bands are popular for student dances? Tom will call Lambda Chi.
         Could the Oklahoma Art Museum do a showing of Sergei Leonov paintings and get Leonov to come?
         The Oklahoma City Astronomy Club is looking for speakers and would like one from NSS.
         Marketing for Burns Flat: OSIDA Executive Director Bill Khourie would have to check with OSIDA’s legal counsel.
         The spaceport in Florida now has FAA license for launches from Cape Canaveral.
         Space Week in October: Mention it to SEDS. Ask Adrian Lucy about the current status of SEDS. Who is their sponsor? [Susan Postawk. The web page is active with a slate of 2010-11 officers listed, and the first meeting is September 8 at 8:00 p.m. Travis Darling is the current president.]
         The KISS Institute for Practical Robotics would fit in with a Yuri’s Night celebration.
         Tom and Syd are both donating $30 FOR Starbase Oklahoma. Syd will send a check to Tim.
         Claire got an e-mail from James Trombly about Tripoli. Look for a list of all rocket clubs in the United States. The link to the one in Edmond is bad, but there is a Tripoli in Tulsa
         We are to read books on various aspects of fundraising and speaking and do book reports on them. Claire and Clifford McMurray own a slew of such books. Add “Book Reports” to the Agenda beginning in September...
         If we do a CD Night, Claire can put it on the Astronomy Club web site.
         NSS is working on a way to simplify URLs to make chapter sites easier to find.
--Minutes by Oklahoma Space Alliance Secretary Syd Henderson

Viewing Opportunities for Satellites (September 10 – October 12, 2010)

         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. With the addition of the solar panels, the Space Station can be as bright as magnitude -3.5, making it brighter than all the stars other than the Sun and all the planets other than Venus, 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 may change its orbit. The Progress 39 cargo carrier will dock with the space station on September 10. Commander Alexander Skvortsov and Flight Engineers Mikhail Komienko and Tracy Caldwell Dyson will be returning to Earth on September 23, and a Soyuz will be launched two weeks later with their replacements, Scott Kelly, Alexander Kaleri and Oleg Skripochka.  Expedition 25 Commander Doug Wheelock and Flight Engineers Shannon Walker and Fyodor Yurchikhin will remain on board the Space Station. Be sure to check Heavens Above or www.jsc.nasa.gov/sightings/ before going out to watch.
           The last mission to the Hubble Telescope has already occurred so its information should be reliable.


Station  September 12, 2010
Time               Position     Elevation
8:45 p.m.             329°                17°
8:46                     345                  31*
8:47                       36                  46
8:48                       90                  32
Vanishes into Earth’s shadow
* Passes close to pointers in Big Dipper

Station  September 14, 2010
Time               Position     Elevation
8:04 p.m.             325°                18°
8:05                     338                  34*
8:06                       38                  46
8:07                     101                  34
8:08                     115                  18
* Passes close to pointers in Big Dipper

Station  September 28, 2010
Time               Position     Elevation
7:11 a.m.             213°                18°
7:12                     202                  35
7:13                     133                  61
7:14                       69                  35
7:15                       58                  18

Station  September 29, 2010
Time               Position     Elevation
6:29 p.m.             221°                18°
6:30                     215                  37
6:31                     127                  75
6:32                       58                  36
6:33                       53                  18

HST  October 9, 2010
Time               Position     Elevation
7:34 p.m.             220°                20°
7:35                     201                  27
7:36                     175                  30
7:37                     148                  27
7:38                     130                  20

HST  October 10, 2010
Time               Position     Elevation
7:35 p.m.             225°                18°
7:36                     206                  28
7:37                     179                  32
7:38                     151                  28
7:39                     132                  21

HST  October 11, 2010
Time               Position     Elevation
7:30 p.m.             228                  21°
7:31                     210                  28
7:32                     182                  32
7:33                     155                  28
7:34                     136                  21

HST  October 12, 2010
Time               Position     Elevation
7:27 p.m.             230°                20°
7:28                     212                  27
7:29                     159                  30
7:30                     159                  27
7:31                     140                  20
                           

         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 7:27 p.m. on October 12,  measure five fist-widths west of due south , then two 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/.

SEDS Meeting

         RE an inquiry from last month’s meeting: The OU SEDS (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space) chapter is still active. Their website is http://www.ou.edu/seds/. First meeting is Wednesday, September 8 at 8:00 p.m. in the food court in the Oklahoma Memorial Union at the University of Oklahoma. The street address is 900 Asp Avenue in Norman. The food court is downstairs at the north end of the Union. Travis Darling is President this year, while last year’s president, Adrian Lucy, is now Treasurer. Contact e-mail for OU SEDS is seds@ou.edu.

Exoplanet News

         On August 24, Christophe Lovis of Geneva announced his team has made one of the most spectacular exoplanet finds yet. The star HD 10180 has at least five planets around the size of Neptune, and probably at least two more planets. The existence of the outermost planet, which has two-thirds the mass of Saturn, seems almost certain, while the innermost one, half again as large as Earth is highly probable.
         Here are some figures for the proposed planets (by definition, the star itself is HD10180a).

        Min Mass Period (days)   a (AU)   ecc.
HD 10180b   1.4        1.17    0.0223     0
HD 10180c  13          5.76    0.0641     0.08
HD 10180d  12         16.36    0.129      0.14
HD 10180e  25         49.75    0.270      0.06
HD 10180f  23.5      123       0.49       0.13
HD 10180g  21        600       1.42       0
HD 10180h  65       2229       3.4        0.15

         “Min Mass” is m sin i, where m is the actual mass in Earth masses, and i is the inclination of the planet’s orbit to our plane of view. If we are viewing the orbits close to flat on, i and sin i would be close to zero, and the planet would have much more massive to produce the observed Doppler shift in its star’s spectrum. On the other hand, if the orbit is tilted 90° to our plane of site (i.e., we see the planet’s orbit edge-on), sin i is 1 and “Min Mass” is the planet’s true mass. The length of the semi-major axis is a, and ecc., the eccentricity, measures how far the orbit is from being circular.
         For comparison, here are the corresponding figures for the solar system:
             Mass  Period (days)a (AU)     ecc.
Mercury     0.055    87.969    0.387      0.205
Venus       0.815   224.701    0.723      0.007
Earth       1.000   365.256    1.000      0.017
Mars        0.107   779.96     1.524      0.093
Jupiter   317.8    4331.572    5.204      0.049
Saturn     95.152 10759.22     9.582      0.056
Uranus     14.536 30799       19.229      0.044
Neptune    17.147 60190       30.104      0.011

         So the innermost four planets are all considerably close to their star than Mercury is to the sun with the innermost two planets being extremely hot, the fifth planet corresponds to the farthest distance Mercury is to the Sun, the sixth planet to Mars, and the seventh planet corresponds to the outer edge of the asteroid belt.
         Interestingly, HD10180 is about 50% more luminous that the Sun, which I believe puts HD10180g firmly within the habitable zone. The planet itself is a warm Neptune, but a large moon orbiting it could well have conditions favorable to life. This assumes that the orbital mechanics of the HD10180 system keeps HD10180g in its nearly circular orbit. (Those orbital periods for b and c and for c and d look awfully close to 3:1 resonances.)

         The paper is in the August 13 Astronomy & Astrophysics and online at www.eso.org/public/archives/releases/sciencepapers/eso1035/eso1035.pdf.

Exoplanet News, Pt. II

         Meanwhile, the Kepler Telescope team has come up with an example of how swiftly planetary dynamics can change. One of the stars Kepler is observing, called Kepler 9, has two planets and they have orbital periods of 19.2 and 38.9 days, which is very close to a 2:1 resonance.
         In fact, they planets are indeed in a resonance: the inner planet is speeding up by four minutes per orbit and the outer is slowing down by thirty-nine minutes an orbit. (Both planets transit the disk of Kepler 9, so this is known with high accuracy.)  Since the two planets are respectively about 80% and 25% the mass of Saturn, and they orbit their star at a distance considerably closer than Mercury orbits the Sun, they have a relatively strong gravitational interaction. The orbital periods oscillate around the 2:1 resonance with a period of four years.
         This orbital relation, incidentally, also allowed the masses of the planets to be measured directly. This is unusual for planets detected by the transit method; usually when you see a mass for an extrasolar planet, it was detected by the Doppler method. Since the planets transit their star’s disk, their radii should be calculable.
         It appears there may be a third planet in this system with a mass of 3.5 Earths and an orbital period of 1.6 days. That would put it in a 1:12 ratio with Kepler 9b and 1:24 with Kepler 9c. This observation is pretty close to the limit, so this innermost “planet” is not being treated as official.

         Apparently the star’s official name is Kepler-9; it lies 2300 light-years from Earth and was apparently first catalogued by the Kepler mission. This is not true of some of the other stars observed by Kepler; for instance, one of them is 16 Cygni B, while Kepler-1 is also GSC 03549-02811 and TrES-2; its planet is TrES-2b (or Kepler 1b), where TrES is the Trans-Atlantic Exoplanet Survey. TrES-2b was actually discovered in 2006, before the Kepler mission, but lies in the field of view of the Kepler spacecraft so is being observed by it.
         Similarly, 16 Cygni Bb was discovered in 1996. I don’t believe it’s a transiting planet, so doesn’t have a Kepler number, but is being observed anyway.

         On its first go-round, the Kepler mission identified 706 stars with apparent planets out of around 150,000 observed, and data on 306 were released in June. If that seems like a small number, remember Kepler is designed only to detect transiting planets. Since the data was only from the first year, the planets detected have orbits close to their stars. To definitively call a candidate a planet, Kepler needs three transits. The additional 400 stars have planets with apparent small radii, and data will be released in February.

Other Space News

         The Boltysh impact crater is 15 miles across and lies near the Dnieper river in Ukraine, about equidistant from Kiev and Odessa. Interestingly, the impact occurred only a couple thousand years before the Chicxulub crater in the Yucatan which killed off the dinosaurs. The Boltysh impact wasn’t capable of doing anything on that scale, but it must have been devastating for Eastern Europe. In fact, the ecosystem there was still recovering when the Rock of Doom arrived. [Original estimates were that the Boltysh crater was 300,000 years younger, but the time estimates overlapped, and pollen samples suggest Botlysh is the older.]

Sky Viewing

         In the “SecretSky” section of the October Astronomy, Stephen James O’Meara has an article, “The Daughters of Dawn’s Heart” about on viewing the moons of Jupiter with the naked eye. (The title refers to an African myth which may possibly reflect such a viewing.) This may seem unlikely until you realize that the magnitudes of Jupiter’s moons are 4.8 for Io, 5.2 for Europa, 4.5 for Ganymede and 5.5 for Callisto, which are all above naked eye visibility provided you have a really dark sky. The catch, of course, is that there is this giant planet blazing next to them at magnitude -2.9.
         Still, on really dark nights, some people can see them without aid. For instance, E. Talmadge Mentall took his 8-year old daughter to see them through a telescope. He remarked she would see the moons going up to Jupiter, but she replied that the moons go down to Jupiter. She could see them with her naked eye, and the telescope turned everything upside down.
         For most people, the key is finding a way to block out Jupiter, and the author mentions several methods. (One person simply used the edge of a projection on his roof.) With Jupiter at an unusually close opposition this month, this may be a good time to try them.

         Mercury was in inferior conjunction with the Sun on September 3 and is currently hidden in the dawn, but it is rapidly approaching greatest elongation, which it will reach on September 19. It will begin to be visible to the naked eye about a half hour before sunrise on September 13, and will brighten from magnitude 1.0 to -0.4 between September 13 and 19. By the latter date, it will be rising ninety minutes before sunrise. It will continue to brighten till the end of September (unlike Venus, Mercury is brightest in its gibbous phase), even while it’s rising closer to sunrise. However, Mercury will gradually disappear back into sunrise through October as it reaches superior conjunction on October 16
         Venus is very low in the twilit southwestern sky at sunset, but is still bright enough to see easily. It will actually be at peak brightness on September 23, when it will be magnitude -4.8. Venus is actually at its brightest when it presents a fat crescent, which also means it is between greatest elongation and inferior conjunction. Since inferior conjunction is on October 28, Venus will disappear in mid-October not only because of the brightness of twilight, but because it is presenting more of its backside to us.
         Mars  is also in the twilight, to the right and above Venus, but even at magnitude 1.5 is difficult to see. Mars is pretty effectively invisible for the rest of the year. Saturn is even lower in the twilight, and is in conjunction with the Sun on September 30. It will begin to become visible about an hour before sunrise in late October.
         Jupiter, on the other hand, is up in the eastern sky shortly after sunlight, and shines at magnitude -2.9 all night long throughout the rest of September and all of October. Jupiter is at opposition on the morning of September 21. This is the closest opposition of Jupiter between 1963 and 2022, although any opposition during this phase of its orbit is about the same distance.
         Uranus is at opposition on September 21, but is only magnitude 5.7, which is barely visible to the naked eye in very dark skies. It will also be about a degree north of Jupiter. Finder charts for 2010 for Uranus and Neptune (Jupiter doesn’t need one) are available at http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/highlights/85530917.html. Uranus will be at about the same spot in Pisces for the rest of the year.
         Since Jupiter and Uranus are both at opposition in the same part of the sky, it’s not surprising they are also having a conjunction this month. The closest they get is 0.8° on September 18. Since both planets are in retrograde motion, and Jupiter makes the bigger loop and moves faster, there are actually three conjunctions of the two planets this time around. This is the second of the three. The first one, last June 6, and the third, January 2 after Jupiter resumes moving west, are considerably closer.
         A few hours later, the asteroid Hebe reaches opposition. This one’s in the constellation Cetus the Whale about five degrees west of Beta Ceti. Hebe is only magnitude 7.7 at opposition, which is about the same a Neptune. Hebe was the sixth asteroid to be discovered, in 1847.
         Neptune is in the constellation Aquarius near the border with Capricorn, as it will be for years. It’s located about three degrees northeast of Delta Capricorni, which, oddly, is the brightest star in that constellation. (Usually Alpha would denote the brightest star.)
[Information from skyandtelescope.com and the September and October issues of both Astronomy and Sky & Telescope.]

Calendar of Events
           
         September 11: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         September 19: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 18° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
         September 20: Jupiter is the closest it will come to Earth in the next 20 years, about 370 million miles.
         September 21: Jupiter is at opposition at 7:00 a.m. CDT. Uranus is at opposition at noon. The asteroid Hebe is at opposition at 1:00 a.m.
         September 30: Saturn is in conjunction with the Sun.
         October 9: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         October 28: Venus in inferior conjunction with the Sun.
         November 1: Launch of Discovery to the Space Station. This is the last scheduled mission for Discovery. Launch time is currently projected for 3:33 p.m. [CDT]. [
         November 13: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         December: Japan’s Akatsuki (aka Venus Climate Orbiter and Planet C) arrives at Venus.
         December 1: Mercury is at greatest eastern elongation, 21° from the Sun (hence can be seen after sunset).
         December 11: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance Christmas Party. Location and time to be announced.
         December 21: Total eclipse of the Moon, visible just after midnight in North and South America.
         December 26: Pluto is in conjunction with the Sun.
         Sometime in 2011: China will launch two missions to the Tiangong 1 space station. The first will be an unmanned mission and the second a manned docking mission.
         January 2. 2011: Jupiter is 0.6° south of Uranus.
         January 8, 2011: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         January 8, 2011: Venus is at greatest western elongation, 47° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
         January 9, 2011: Mercury is at greatest western elongation, 23° from the Sun (hence can be seen before sunrise).
         February 4, 2011: Mars is in conjunction with the Sun.
         February 12, 2001: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         February 16, 2011: Launch of Endeavour to the Space Station. This is the scheduled conclusion of the space shuttle program. Launch time is currently projected for 4:19 p.m. [CDT] [Moved from July 2010.]
         March 18, 2011: MESSENGER goes into orbit around Mercury.
         June 15, 2011: Total eclipse of the Moon, visible in South America and most of Eastern Hemisphere.
         August 5, 2011: Launch of the Juno mission to Jupiter. See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juno_(spacecraft) or http://juno.wisc.edu/ for details.
         September 8, 2011: Launch of GRAIL, the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, to orbit the Moon. This is actually a dual probe mission. For more information, visit http://moon.mit.edu/index.html.
         October 2011: Dawn probe orbits Vesta. See dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/  or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawn_Mission for details.
         October 2011 – April 2012: Dawn probe orbits Vesta.
         November 25, 2011: The Mars Science Laboratory (aka Curiosity) is launched. See marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ for details
         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.
         Late 2011 or early 2012: Launch of the Phobos-Grunt sample return mission to the Martian moon Phobos. For more information, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phobos-Grunt. The orbiter will remain to study Mars while the soil sample will arrive on Earth in late 2012 or early in 2013.
         Sometime in 2012: Russia launches the “Luna-Glob” mission which will deploy 13 mini-probes upon the lunar surface. For more information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luna-Glob.
         February 3, 2012: Launch of NuSTAR space probe from Kwajalein via a Pegasus rocket. NuSTAR will search for black holes, supernova remnants and active galaxies. For more details, visit www.nustar.caltech.edu/ or en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Spectroscopic_Telescope_Array.
         March 3, 2012: Mars is at opposition at magnitude -1.2. This is the worst opposition for the next twenty years.
         March 12, 2001: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         April 2012: Dawn probe leaves orbit around Vesta for Ceres.
         April 9, 2001: [Tentative] Oklahoma Space Alliance meeting at 3:00 p.m. Location to be announced.
         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 (Curiosity) rover lands on Mars. See marsprogram.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ for details.
         April 17, 2013: Mars is in conjunction with the Sun.
         December 30, 2013: Earliest launch date for India’s Chandrayaan II. This mission will include a lunar rover. For more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandrayaan-2.
         Sometime in 2014: The European Space Agency/JAXA BepiColombo Mercury Orbiter is launched. Home page is sci.esa.int/science-e/www/area/index.cfm?fareaid=30.
         June 2014: Earliest date for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope.
         August 2014 - December 2015: The Rosetta space probe orbits comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. In November, 2014, it will release the Philae lander. Web page is www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Rosetta or visit en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_%28spacecraft%29
         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.
         Summer of 2020 (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

          “Beneath that Blazing Façade,” by Alexandra Witze, Science News, July 31, 2010, pp 18 – 21. New analysis of the spectral lines of the Sun and new models of the Sun are forcing revisions of estimates of its composition. It had been estimated that the Sun had about 2% “metals” where “metal” in this case means anything that isn’t hydrogen or helium. That is, astrophysicists call oxygen, carbon, neon, etc. metals. A 2009 estimate by Asplund et.al. is that the Sun is 1.4% metals, or about a third less. A 2010 estimate by Caffau et. al. gives a somewhat higher percentage, but still well under 2%. In particular Asplund estimates the Sun has about 57% as much oxygen as previously believed and Caffau about 67%.
         These figures are both a blessing and a curse. They don’t support current values for the speed of sound and the density of the Sun, which means theory will have to be revised. On the other hand, the old figures meant the Sun had a different distribution of elements that the rest of the solar neighborhood, while the new estimates are more in line.

         “Mars under the Microscope,” by J. Kelly Beatty, Sky & Telescope, September 2010, pp. 20 – 25. While Spirit and Opportunity grabbed the headlines, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been photographing the surface of Mars, seeing details down to a foot wide. This article contains some spectacular photographs, especially of layered and ridged terrain, sand dunes, and the collapsed edge of Cerberus Fossae.

         “The Next Great Space Telescope Takes Shape,” by Francis Reddy, Astronomy, September 2010, pp. 24 – 29. An overview of the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, which will have a primary mirror with an effective diameter of 259 inches (compared to 94 inches for the Hubble Space Telescope). This will not be one mirror but 18 hexagonal mirror segments joined together. This will actually allow the operators to adjust the shape of the mirror. The Webb Telescope will concentrate on infrared radiation, which will allow it to see farther than Hubble. The Hubble has seen galaxies that formed 500,000,000 years after the Big Bang. Webb will see to 180,000,000 years after the Big Bang. That corresponds to a red-shift of 20 which is why the Webb Telescope is looking into the infrared. It will also be able to see planets around other stars, since planets tend to shine in the infrared.

         “How Astronomers Will Find Another Earth,” by Debra Fischer, Astronomy, October 2010, pp. 28 – 33.

Oklahoma Space Alliance Officers, 2010 (Area Code 405)

Tom Koszoru, President                                                      366-1797 (H)
John Northcutt, Vice-President                                           390-3476 (H)
Syd Henderson, Secretary & Outreach Editor                     321-4027 (H)
Tim Scott, Treasurer                                                            740-7549 (H)
Claire McMurray, Correspondence Secretary/Update Editor
                329-4326 (H) 863-6173 (C)

OSA E-mail Addresses and Web Site:

claire.mcmurray at sbcglobal.net (Claire McMurray)
T_Koszoru at cox.net (Heidi and Tom Koszoru)
john.d.northcutt1 at tds.net (John Northcutt)
sydh at ou.edu (Syd Henderson)
ctscott at mac.com (Tim Scott)
lensman13 at aol.com; (Steve Galpin)
            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, 1155 15th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC  20005.    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 $30 introductory rate for new members ($35 for new international members).  Regular membership rates are $55, international $65.  Student memberships are $25.  Part of the cost is for the magazine, Ad Astra.  Mail to: National Space Society, 1155 15th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC  20005, 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.

Contact person for Oklahoma Space Alliance is Claire McMurray
PO Box 1003
Norman, OK 73070
Webmaster is Syd Henderson.
Copyright ©2010 Oklahoma Space Alliance.