Daylight Savings Time 2013

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Daylight Savings Time 2013 - It’s been over two years since I’ve written about our planetary neighbor Mars. Why? As it is with most things astronomical, events in our solar system occur in a cyclic manner. Earth and Mars have a close encounter every 26 months.

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Daylight Savings Time 2013

  1. 1. daylight savings time 2013 home privacy archive enter keywords here...  Daylight Savings Time 2013 Please check the above websites for any cancellation notices before venturing out for a visit, since snow and ice at the facilities can force closures even when the skies are clear. Dont forget, we switch to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, March 11, ... Share | Posted by on Daylight Savings Time 2013 Welcome! Login | Register | Search: | Advanced Search NEW: FirstWorks’   “Your Story/In 140”  Twitter Contest—Be part of the performance with your winning… Big East Tournament 2012 - First Round—U C o n n a d v a n c e s , Pittsburgh moves on...NEW: $336.4 Million RI Powerball Winner Louise White Claims Prize—Mother of famed Newport musician Leroy White...Who Will Be The Next Head Coach At Brown?—TJ Sorrentine leads the listRed Sox Report: Rotation Looking Good For Boston—first time through a successHealth Alert: Low-Income Kids Drink Too Much Juice—More than one cup of the stuff is…Dear John: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie. And Lying Dogs Sleep.—Some things may be better left unsaid...Savory Grape Releases Private Label Wine—Treasure from the Sierra Foothills...Providence Named Top Place for Sex by RealAge—Things are pretty hot out there...NEW: Hasbro’s “Battleship Ball”  Nets Record $1 Million—Highest fundraising total since the events start in… Follow us on Facebook Twitter See It Read It Share It Home News Occupy America See Click Fix Top High Schools Sports High School Sports RIs Top Athletes Politics Gen.
  2. 2. Its going to be the closest its been in 26 months this week: the Red Planet. Whatimmediately pops into your head when I mention Mars? If you had asked me backin the sixth grade (1964-65), I would have answered H.G. Wells’  War of theWorlds, for it was then that I first read that great science fiction novel aboutMartians invading our world. From then until the early 70’s I was aware the UnitedStates had sent several unmanned spacecraft (Mariner series) to explore ourdesert neighbor. Then came the Viking landers in 1976. And now I think about thesurviving Mars rover Opportunity who, like the Energizer Bunny, keeps “going andgoing.”  I’m also looking forward to the landing of a small car-sized rover in Augustcalled Curiosity.When I’m able to show a young child a great view of Mars through SeagraveObservatory’s 8-inch Alvan Clark refractor telescope or Ladd Observatory’s 12-inch Brashear refractor, I often wonder if that young person may be the firstearthly explorer to set foot upon its rusty soil. He or she may get to visit the crashor landing sites of our earlier unmanned explorations and get to see firsthand themagnificent “geological”  structures explored by the rovers. This adventurer will beable to step up to a rock outcropping and pick away at the formation hoping todiscover evidence of past life. (Much like I imagined doing as I watched thefantastic images transmitted to Earth from the Mars rovers.)For this article I am not going to recount the history of Mars observations orspacecraft explorations other than to say the initial accounts of possible “canals” on Mars at the end of the 19th century captured our imagination and mostassuredly hastened our spacecraft exploration of this desolate world. If you wouldlike some historical background, visit Skyscrapers web site athttp://www.theskyscrapers.org/ and look for an article titled “Mars History Highlights2012.”It’s been over two years since I’ve written about our planetary neighbor Mars.Why? As it is with most things astronomical, events in our solar system occur in acyclic manner. Earth and Mars have a close encounter every 26 months. Duringthe last few months the Earth has been catching up to Mars in our respectiveorbits, since the Earth orbits the Sun (one year) in less time than Mars does (1.88years). On March 5 these two planets will be at their closest distance from eachother: 62,652,214 miles. Unfortunately not all Mars close encounters are favorableones. That fact is due to the eccentricity of Mars’  elliptical orbit and its distancefrom the Sun. And just to put that distance into some perspective, back on August27, 2003, Earth and Mars were a mere 34,646,418 miles apart.For some Mars observers it might be a challenge to observe much detailconsidering how small the disk of the planet will appear even at its closestapproach. However, don’t let Mars’ small image size deter you from gazing at thisplanet that has stimulated our collective imagination for over a century.This brief Mars observing guide will help you to discern and appreciate theplanetary detail a telescope may show you of this neighboring world. While this2012 apparition is not one of the closer ones, medium-sized backyard telescopesshould still coax some detail out of the small image. And of course the localobservatories will be able to share even more Martian detail when steady seeingallows them to “crank up” the magnification.If you haven’t begun to observe Mars on your own prior to reading this column, thenext clear night would be a good time to drag your telescopes out and have themcollect the light of all the heavenly bodies, instead of collecting dust in storage.After we and Mars are closest on March 5, the Earth effectively laps our neighbordue to our greater orbital speed. After just one week we will be just over half a
  3. 3. million miles farther apart. A week later it will be an additional 1.5 million miles. Sodon’t procrastinate. You’ll observe more detail if you start your Mars observingprogram right away.First you will need to locate Mars in the sky. Just after sunset on March 1, Mars willbe the red object about ten degrees (a fist held at arm’s length gives thismeasurement) above the eastern horizon. You should wait for it to climb higherinto the sky and out of any horizon haze and turbulence. By 9:00pm Mars will bealmost 40 degrees above the horizon and awaiting your scrutiny. It would be hardnot to notice Mars, for its pumpkin orange color is very distinct.By that time the sky will also be completely dark, and you’ll be able to see it inrelation to the background stars. During this Mars observing season it will remainwithin the constellation of Leo, the lion. It currently resides below the hind quartersof this sky picture. Mars will move westward in the sky towards the bright starRegulus, which anchors the backwards question mark pattern called the Sickleand represents the lion’s heart. Mars won’t reach Regulus, because in mid-Aprilthe planet will move eastward in the sky.Once you focus in on Mars with a telescope, the first detail you will notice will bethe color. It’s not quite red, but not quite orange. Perhaps Crayola has a hue thatbest describes what we can see. How would you describe it? The second detailthat will catch your eye will be the North Polar Cap (NPC). It’s definitely a brightwhite feature that can be seen because Mars’ north pole is currently tilted towardsthe Earth. It is late spring in Mars’ northern hemisphere, so the NPC has had sometime to melt. Mars’ Summer Solstice occurs on March 30, so as more time passes,an observer should be able to notice the NPC shrinking and breaking up. Mars’ image will be fairly small, so one should wait for steady seeing conditions toobserve as much detail as possible. The NPC will continue to shrink as the Martiansummer progresses, while the Earth/Mars distance will be increasing and theimage size will be decreasing.While the NPC should be rather apparent, the rest of the planet will appear as arust-colored beach ball. As you more carefully scan this alien world, you shouldbegin to notice several dark features on the Martian surface. These features arethe underlying rock exposed by the shifting sands during intense dust storms. Therelatively small image will make it somewhat of a challenge to identify much detail,and the dark surface features may be fleeting. Despite this handicap, a keen-eyedobserver should be able to catch a few glimpses of a dark area like Syrtis Major ora bright one like Hellas Basin. You may be able to identify some of Mars’ dark andbright surface features by utilizing a utility called Mars Profiler provided online bySky and Telescope magazine. Also please keep in mind that Mars rotates once in24 hours and 38 minutes. That means if you observe a feature at a specificlocation at a specific time on a given night, you’ll have to wait an additional 38minutes each successive night for it to be at the same spot, since the Earth rotatesonce every 24 hours.Though Mars is noted for producing dust storms that can globally enshroud theplanet, therefore preventing any of its surface features from being observed, it isunlikely that will happen during this opposition. Those storms are active when Marsis at perihelion (closest to the Sun), and that won’t happen until January 2013.During Mars’  current orbit about the Sun, its aphelion (farthest distance from theSun) was on February 15. Major dust storms are unlikely, so take your timeobserving and note as much detail as your telescope and local weather conditionsallow.In conclusion, be patient when observing Mars. The planet’s disk will be small. Waitfor steady seeing conditions. Don’t try observing Mars if the stars are twinkling.
  4. 4. Take a knowledgeable glimpse of an alien world that inspired generations of astronomers and science fiction writers alike to ponder the existence of Martian life-forms. Drag out those telescopes and expose them to the light of the universe. One day your children or your grandchildren may set foot upon this exciting landscape. If you don’t own your own telescope (or the view through the one you do own is too small to see much detail) plan on visiting Seagrave Observatory on Peeptoad Road in North Scituate on any clear Saturday night. Or visit Ladd Observatory located on Hope Street on Providence’s East Side on any clear Tuesday night. Also consider visiting Frosty Drew Observatory in Charlestown. Frosty Drew observing begins at 6:00pm with no set end time. Dress warmly and take advantage of the views these larger telescopes can provide. Please check the above websites for any cancellation notices before venturing out for a visit, since snow and ice at the facilities can force closures even when the skies are clear. Don’t forget, we switch to Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, March 11, at 2:00am, so during mid-March be sure to double check the above web sites for opening time changes. Share | Posted by on    COPYRIGHT (C) 2012 . ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.CONTACT US ABOUT US

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