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Why Are There Leap Years?

Why Are There Leap Years?

Why Are There Leap Years?

We have a pope to thank for straightening out the glitch

Our calendar year has 365 days, but the earth actually takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 46 seconds to travel around the sun. With an extra quarter-day each year, in 120 years the calendar would be ahead by a month. New Year’s Eve would arrive somewhere around Thanksgiving. Luckily, we have a built-in safeguard: the occasional February 29, which arrives every 4 years. To avoid the chaos that would ensue should our seasons fall out of sync, every fourth year an extra day is added to keep the calendar consistent with the sun. (more…)

Three Days at Taurus-Littrow

Three Days at Taurus-Littrow

When, if all goes well, Apollo 17’s lunar module Challenger makes the final approach for a landing on the Moon, it will let down toward a dramatic landscape: a wide alley guarded by three massive, well-rounded mountains that tower as high as 7, 000 feet. “Once we are there, insists Apollo 17’s commander, Gene Cernan. “I am going to get us down”. He will have little margin for error, only a few miles downrange of Challenger’s glide path are the towering Taurus Mountains; to the north-east lies the giant crater Littrow. Much as the landing site for America’s sixth (and last) scheduled expedition to the Moon’s surface will test the astronauts‘ piloting skills, it should be even more of a scientific challenge. A combination of ancient highlands and a younger lowland valley, the Taurus-Littrow Valley site promises to provide the moon walkers with two major scientific prizes: the youngest and the oldest rocks yet found on the Moon. (Taurus-Littrow site was named for the heavenly constellation Taurus – the Bull and the 19th century Austrian astronomer-mathematician Johann von Littrow. (more…)

Surveyor atterrit sur la Lune

Surveyor atterrit sur la Lune

L’engin s’est posé en douceur après 63 heures de vol

Pasadena – À leur première tentative, les États-Unis ont réussi, la nuit dernière à faire atterrir en douceur sur la Lune la sonde spatiale Surveyor. L’engin s’est posé sur la Lune le 2 juin 1966, à 2h 17 du matin).

Les premières photographies transmises à la Terre par la camera de télévision qui équipe Surveyor 1 indiquent clairement que le sol lunaire, dans la région de la Mer des Tempêtes tout au moins, est assez dur pour permettre à l’homme de s’y poser. Ce spectaculaire succès pave la voie au programme Apollo d’exploration lunaire. Le système de freinage dont était équipe le Surveyor est le même qui est prévu pour les cabines Apollo. Ces navires spatiaux doivent, selon les espoirs des États-Unis, transporter les premiers lunautes américains d’ici 1969 ou 1970. (more…)

Premier astronaute arabe

Prince saoudien est devenu le premier astronaute arabe

Prince en orbite !

Le prince saoudien Sultan Salman Bin Abdelaziz Al-Saud, neveu du roi Fahd, d’Arabie Saoudite a été envoyé dans le cosmos avec Daniel Brandenstein à la tête de l’équipage.

Un prince saoudien, un pilote d’essai français et cinq astronautes américains de la NASA ont profité du bon temps qui a permit le décollage de la navette Discovery le 17 juin 1985. La navette a également emporté trois satellites dans sa soute. (more…)

Personal Astrology

Personal Astrology

Personal astrology is with us still: consider two different newspaper astrology columns published in the same city on the same day. For example, we can examine the New York Post and the New York Daily News on September 21, 1979. Suppose you are a Libra – that is, born between September 23 and October 22.

According to the astrologer for the Post, “a compromise will help ease tension”; useful, perhaps, but somewhat vague. According to the Daily News’s astrologer, you must “demand more of yourself”, an admonition that is also vague but also different. These “predictions” are not “predictions”; rather they pieces of advice – they tell what to do, not what will happen. Deliberately, they are phrased so generally that they could apply to anyone. And they display major mutual inconsistences. Why are they published as unapologetically as sports statistics and stock market reports? (more…)

Old Ads

Old Ads

Our history

103a Films

103a films can be obtained in 36-exposure, 135 cassettes for about S7 from Optica b/c Company. These films deteriorate unless refrigerated until needed, so “thaw” the film for about four hours before use. Kodak D-19 developer is recommended by Kodak for 103 emulsions. (Not all camera stores carry D-19, and if necessary you can use the more readily available D-76). MWP-2 is a “superdeveloper” formulated at Hale Observatories for 103 films. It is available from Clayton Chemical Co., 3867 S. Grandview Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90066. (more…)

The Meaning of Mackerel Clouds

The Meaning of Mackerel Clouds

The science behind the farmer’s and sailor’s maxims

Weather folklore has been passed down through the ages by mariners and farmers who relied on their own observations of astronomical events, animal behaviors, and atmospheric changes to predict upcoming weather events. Today, while the average person’s ability to observe the natural world has declined, much of the folklore still exists, partly because of a psychological yearning to keep in touch with a time when humans seemed more in tune with their environment. Here we help discern what of today’s remaining weather lore is still viable: (more…)

Meade Research Quality Telescopes

Meade Research Quality Telescopes, Parts and Accessories

2” O.D. Eyepieces. Superb wide-angle eyepieces for 2” focusers. Fully coated, premium quality optics for the ultimate in rich-field performance. Erfle 32 mm – highly corrected 5 element optical system, with wide, flat 65” field. Keller 60mm – Low power, log eye relief, ideal for deep-space observations. Kellner 60mm – Low power, long eye relief. Ideal for deep-space observations.

Zoom Eyepieces. Orthoscopic 8.4-21mm (1 1/4” O.D.) – Zooms instantly, with excellent image corrections at all powers. 50 degrees field at 8.4mm. Filler Adapter: couples our filters to above eyepieces. Kellner 7.5-22.5 mm (.965” O.D.) – Fine quality, 4-element design. Coated optics mounted in a machined metal housing. (more…)

Fusée avec une souris

Fusée lancée de Floride avec une souris à bord

Cap Canaveral, Floride – Un avant-coureur incandescent de la roquette que l’Aviation veut envoyer à la Lune a été lancée. Hier soir, 9 juillet 1958, entraînant une souris dans l’espace.

(À midi, aucune dépêche n’avait encore signalé la découvert de l’ogive contenant la souris Mia II et l’on ne savait pas encore si la fusée avait parcouru les 6,000 milles requis. (more…)

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