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Photo: NASA website

New Year’s Eve here will literally be once in a blue moon. The partial lunar eclipse will cause a ‘blue moon” to occur on New Year’s Eve. “Blue moon” is actually a misnomer since the moon will not be blue, so do not look for any blue to be showing on New Year’s Eve. It is actually the second full moon in any calendar month. This occurs but does not do so often. Normally there is a new moon every 29.5 days. Sometimes, like in the month of December, we are actually lucky enough to have two full moons. What makes this so special is that the last time a full moon occurred twice in one month was back in May 2007. The last time that it occurred on a New Year’s Eve was 1990. The next time it will occur will be 2028. The history of the term “blue moon” is explained on NASA’s website.

So, should you be fortunate enough (weather permitting – us in New England are scheduled for a Nor’Easter) to see the moon and stars on your New Year’s Eve and maybe receive your New Year’s kiss underneath that moon, consider yourself fortunate, it only happens once in a blue moon.

Courtesy of NASA

Courtesy of NASA

According to the folks at Wired Science tomorrow at 7:31 EDT one of NASA’s satellites will launch a rocket into the surface of the moon. The really cool thing about it is that we’ll be able to watch. The rocket is equipped with a camera and it will be traveling at 1.55 miles per second. The plume of debris that the crash creates is supposed to be visible with amateur telescopes.

NASA has a site that will tell you where there are public viewings. The closest one to us is in New York State.

Hirsch Observatory
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 110 8th St, Troy, NY 12180
www.rpi.edu/dept/phys/observatory/
Event starts at 6:30 a.m. EDT. We will attempt imaging the event with the Hirsch Observatory’s 16″ telescope and live video feeds from NASA and major observatories will be presented. Event is weather permitting. In the event of clouds the event will be canceled. You can email astro@union.rpi.edu for more information. The observatory phone number is 518-276-6090.

For those of us that don’t feel the event is worthy of getting in your car and driving to a public event, you can watch the event on NASA TV from the comfort of your own computer. Here’s the link.

For those of you up early the coverage starts at 6:15 a.m. EDT.

This afternoon we watched and listened to the launch of the space shuttle on the computer via NasaTV (who even knew that there was such a thing – I don’t get out much I guess). It was actually pretty cool and very amazing that in the space of 4 minutes this shuttle was completely in space. We were able to watch the whole thing from many different angles including one on the outside of the shuttle itself which gave some pretty neat shots of it going up and into space, watching the earth fade away. The shuttle mission is scheduled to make repairs to the Hubble Telescope. Interestingly, one of the astronauts is going to send twitter updates – it will be the first twittering from outer space. He is @Astro_Mike and should be pretty interesting.

Evilwife on the move

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2012.
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