Thursday, September 17, 2015

Super Harvest Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse Tetrad, 27-28 September 2015

from Sky & Telescope
Isn’t it a little early for Halloween? The Blood Moon really has nothing to do with Halloween even though it sounds like it might. A “blood moon” occurs when there is a total lunar eclipse during a full moon. It’s that simple.

...and it's the Harvest Moon because it's the full moon nearest to the autumnal equinox.

Why is it called a “blood” moon? First, lunar eclipses: When the Earth comes between the sun and the moon, the shadow of the Earth crosses the moon and creates an eclipse.These can be partial or total. Total eclipses happen when the entire moon passes through the umbra or center of the Earth's shadow, darkening the whole face.

Sunlight will still light up the moon by traveling around the Earth and creates a reddish tinge due to dust and organic matter in the atmosphere. This happens with every lunar eclipse but the effect is more vivid during a full moon because there is just more bright moon surface to see it with.

Why is it "super" and what is a "tetrad'? Supermoons happen when the moon is at "perigee" - i.e. when the moon is closest to the Earth in its orbit which makes them appear a bit larger in the sky. The tetrad part refers to the fact that four total lunar eclipses have happened in a row. The last three were 15 April 2014, 08 October 2014, and 04 April 2015. The upcoming one on the 27th will complete the tetrad.

Weather-permitting, you will be able to see this blood moon the night of September 27-28th.
EventUTC TimeTime in Indianapolis*Visible in Indianapolis
Penumbral Eclipse beginsSep 28 at 12:11 AMSep 27 at 8:11 PMYes
Partial Eclipse beginsSep 28 at 1:07 AMSep 27 at 9:07 PMYes
Full Eclipse beginsSep 28 at 2:11 AMSep 27 at 10:11 PMYes
Maximum EclipseSep 28 at 2:47 AMSep 27 at 10:47 PMYes
Full Eclipse endsSep 28 at 3:23 AMSep 27 at 11:23 PMYes
Partial Eclipse endsSep 28 at 4:27 AMSep 28 at 12:27 AMYes
Penumbral Eclipse endsSep 28 at 5:22 AMSep 28 at 1:22 AMYes
(table from

Know more...
From the Libraries & Ball State:

  • Call no. ranges for astronomy:
    • Astronomy = QB
      • 63 stargazers guide
      •  414-419 theory of tides
      • 500.5-785 solar system
      • 630-638 earth as planet
  • Ball State University's Charles W. Brown Planetarium program: Moons: Worlds of Mystery 
From non-Ball State sources:

Friday, March 06, 2015

Daylight Saving Time 2015

 from WikiMedia Commons

So, when exactly do we reset our clocks? And is it forward or backward one hour?

Daylight Saving Time can be very confusing. Read below to help end your confusion! [The chart on the left plots the times of sunrise and sunset (with DST adjustment as separate lines) in Greenwich, GB for 2007.]

Short answer
For the Spring- On Sunday, 08 March, 2015 at 2:00am, you should set your clock forward one hour to 3:00am.

For the Fall- On Sunday, 01 November, 2015 at 2:00am, you should set your clock backward one hour to 1:00am. (Remember "spring forward, fall back...").

Easy answer: Most people who go to bed earlier than the wee hours of the morning simply set their clocks back/forward one hour before they go to bed on Saturday.

Detailed answer: Go HERE.

For more information...
Daylight Saving Time from WebExhibits

World Clock for Indianapolis DST

National Geographic on DST

US Naval Observatory on DST

Figure out what time it is in the United States at

Friday, November 21, 2014

NASA sound library

NASA is now on Soundcloud. More than 60 sound files that were previously only available on NASA's website can now be heard and downloaded from Soundcloud for FREE.

They include mostly voice communications between mission control and astronauts but you can also find sounds of interstellar plasma, President John F. Kennedy, and Sputnik's "beep." The iconic words from the Apollo 11 moon landing are there as well as voices from the Mercury and space shuttle (STS) missions.

With a NASA app, you can set these sounds as ringtones on your smartphone. They are available as MP3s from both sites and M4Rs (for iPhone) as well from the original NASA site.

How do you set these sounds as ringtones? Instructions from the NASA site:
"Android (MP3 format) - We recommend downloading the most recent version of the NASA App for Android for previewing and installing these ringtones. The ringtones option is found on the main screen of NASA App for Android by hitting the menu button on your phone.

iPhone (M4R format) - Please visit our iPhone directions for downloading and installing M4R ringtones page.

Other (MP3 format) - Most smartphones can play MP3 files as ringtones. The process for downloading and installing ringtones to a smartphone may vary greatly based on phone, operating system, and service provider. Check your phone’s user manual or your provider’s website. Some providers may limit your access to ringtones not sold through their site. You can still enjoy the MP3 files on your computer."

NASA on Soundcloud:

NASA's "Download NASA Sounds":

NASA app: