Space exploration, night sky highlights for 2022
The year 2021 has certainly been an exciting year for space exploration.
NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover, Perseverance, landed on the surface of Mars on February 18 and collected its first sample to return to Earth. Ingenuity, the little helicopter that hitchhiked with Perseverance, has flown 18 times over Mars. NASA SpaceX Crew 2 launched, spent time at the International Space Station, and returned to Earth. Crew 3 was launched and arrived at the ISS. The most exciting event will be the launch of the Ja.m.es Webb Space Telescope on December 24, barring other delays or issues.
Our 2021 celestial highlights included a partial solar eclipse at sunrise in June, an almost total lunar eclipse in November, and the spectacular spectacle of the planet in the evening sky, featuring Venus, Saturn and Jupiter!
Highlights of space exploration for 2022
The Ja.m.es Webb space telescope will arrive at Lagrange 2, a point of gravitational equilibrium, at the end of January. During the ride, all 18 mirror segments will open. We are expecting the first image this summer.
NASA’s Artemis 1 launch is scheduled for February 12. It is an unmanned flight designed to test the space launch system, NASA’s powerful new rocket, and the Orion spacecraft. The mission of the Artemis program. is to land astronauts on the Moon, including the first woman and the first person of color, by 2025.
We are celebrating the 60th anniversary of John Glenn’s first Earth orbit on February 20. Glenn, one of Mercury’s astronauts, circled the earth three times in five hours, aboard Friendship 7.
NASA SpaceX Crew 3 returns at the end of April from the International Space Station. Crew 4 will launch on April 15 and Crew 5 will launch in September.
JUpiter ICy moons Explorer – or JUICE – will launch in June 2022 and arrive in the Jupiter system in 2029. JUICE is designed to study three frozen moons of Jupiter: Ganymede, Callisto, Europe. Each of these moons is considered potentially habitable.
DART – or Double Asteroid Redirection Test – will impact its target asteroid, Didymos B, in September. NASA hopes the direct impact will slow the asteroid’s orbit.
We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the last Apollo mission from December 7 to 19, which was Apollo 17. Apollo 17 broke many records; the longest mission, the longest spacewalk, the longest lunar landing, and the largest lunar sample returned to Earth.
Night sky highlights for 2022:
February 9 – Venus at the greatest magnitude, -4.6, in the pre-dawn sky.
April 8 – Two years before the total solar eclipse.
April 30 – Venus passes 0.2 degrees south of Jupiter in the pre-dawn sky.
May 7 – National Astronomy Day.
May 15-16 – Total lunar eclipse, starts at 10:27 p.m., maximum at 12:11 a.m. and ends at 1:55 a.m.
July 13 – Super moon. The closest full moon to the year.
November 8 – Total lunar eclipse. The partial eclipse begins at 4:09 a.m., maximum at 5:59 a.m. and moonset at 6:41 a.m.
Night sky for january
The planets and the moon
The new year begins with a spectacular alignment of planets; Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mercury. The four main planets stretch a total of 40 degrees to the southwest. The crescent moon dances in front of the line of planets for a few nights in early January. The dazzling Venus sets about an hour after sunset and shines at a magnitude of -4.2. Venus will disappear from sight after the first few days of the month. Venus will reach a lower conjunction on January 8. Venus reappears in the morning sky around the middle of the month, rising in the east about an hour before sunrise, shining at a magnitude of -4.3. Visibility will improve and Venus will stand 12 degrees above the ground before sunrise on January 31. Mercury continues to ascend higher in the sky and is located slightly above and to the left of Venus on January 1. Venus and Mercury will swap places first. week of january. The crescent moon slides near Venus and Mercury on January 3, and Mercury reaches its highest eastern aspect ratio on January 7. As Mercury rises in the sky, Saturn loses altitude and the pair are closest, 3.4 degrees apart, on the evening of January 12. -13. In the middle of the month, Mercury fades and reaches a lower conjunction on January 23. It returns to the morning sky the first week of February. Saturn disappears from view the last week of January. On January 4, the crescent moon and Saturn are only 5 degrees apart, side by side. Jupiter remains visible throughout the month and is located 5 degrees north of the crescent moon on January 5. On January 12, we have a double transit of two moons of the Galileon, Ganymede and Callisto. Callisto’s transit starts at 5:22 p.m., followed by Ganymede at 6:50 p.m. Neptune shines at a magnitude of 7.8 and is located in Aquarius. Neptune is located 3.3 degrees northeast of the star Phi Aquarii. On January 6, Neptune is 8 degrees northwest of the crescent moon and 4 degrees south on January 7. Uranus resides in Aries, shining at a magnitude of 5.8, and is located 11 degrees southeast of Ha.m.al, the brightest star in Aries. . The Moon passes 1.5 degrees south of Uranus on January 11. Mars rises before 6 a.m. and travels through an astonishing part of the Milky Way until January and lights up to a magnitude of 1.4. Mars is 6 degrees north of the star Antares. On January 29, the crescent moon is 3 degrees south of Mars at sunrise and they are joined by Venus which is 10.5 degrees northeast of Mars.
East – Big star hopping in this part of the sky! Start with the most magnificent image of our stars, Orion the hunter. Look for the three aligned stars that make up Orion’s belt. The bright red-orange star at the top left of the belt is Betelgeuse. The bright blue-white star at the bottom right of the waistband is Rigel. Draw a line from the belt to a red and orange star, Aldebaran, which is the eye of Taurus, Taurus. The lateral V shape is the face of Taurus. Above Taurus, the small star cluster is that of the Pleiades or Seven Sisters. Looping counterclockwise from the Pleiades, the next bright star is Capella. Continuing down, the two stars you see are Gemini, Twins.
North – The Big Dipper begins to swing on its handle. After the two stars at the end of the cup to the next bright star is Polaris, or the pole star. The constellation Cassiopeia is above and to the left of Polaris and looks like the letter “M”.
Where is – There you will see four stars that form the Grand Carré de Pégase.
Binocular Highlights – When you face north, spot the “M” shape of Cassiopeia. From the left point of the “M” shape, slowly scan to the left. You will see a fuzzy circular shape. It is the Andromeda galaxy. It is 2.5 million light years away. From the straight point of the “M”, scan slightly upward. You will meet the Double Cluster in Perseus. Above our heads you will see the small star cluster, the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters. The Pleiades are a beautiful open cluster of stars. Head towards Orion, the hunter. Scan under the three stars of Orion’s belt. You will see a fuzzy area with shining stars. This is the Orion Nebula, a cloud of gaseous hydrogen in which new stars are formed. The peak of the quadrantid meteor shower is January 3.
For more details on the night sky, maps and audio, visit my website www.starrytrails.com.
Visit the Hoover Price Planetarium
Visit www.mckinleymuseum.org, for dates and times of shows. Planetarium shows are free with admission to the museum. Places are limited and will be on a first come, first served basis. The planetarium is located inside the Presidential McKinley Library and Museum, 800 McKinley Monument Drive NW, Canton. For more information, please call the Museum at 330-455-7043.
This article originally appeared on The Repository: Sky Shorts: space exploration, night sky highlights for 2022