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Celebration of Space - March 6, 2020

Who will be the first humans to visit another planet? They are alive right now and they don't know it's them.

Who will be the first humans to visit another planet? They are alive right now and they don't know it's them.

Have you ever dreamed about being an astronaut? Daydreamed about going to sleep for the last time with the convenience of gravity before embarking on an ISS expedition? Maybe you just reached for the sky and said “This is for me...”. Well now is your time! NASA has opened a window where it will accept applications for the next generation of US astronauts. The window opened on March 2nd and stays open until 11:59 pm ET on March 31, 2020. This opportunity comes only once every four years. If you have applied in the past and were not selected, APPLY AGAIN!! Selected candidates will be part of the Artemis missions, which will bring you to the Moon. How amazing is that?! The requirements for candidacy have become a bit more stringent, which now require a master’s degree in a STEM field or 2 years of work towards a Ph.D. program in a STEM field. Don’t sit on it and think about, get on it! I mean you could be the first human to set foot on another planet (Mars), and this is where the journey starts. Here is the application. If you need more convincing, then let the words of astronaut Anne McClain inspire you. Now reach for the sky!

Yesterday, March 5, 2020 the name of the Mars 2020 rover was announced. I mean you can always expect something epic and inspiring. At Frosty Drew Observatory we were hoping for the name “Redonkulous!”, which did not get selected. Though the selected name certainly fits the reputation and history of past Mars rover missions, most notably the Opportunity mission, which was so resilient that it persevered for years past the end of its primary mission. This summer the new Mars rover: Perseverance, will launch to Mars and usher in the next generation of Mars rover exploration. Go Perseverance, we are all rooting for you!

This coming Sunday, March 8, 2020 at 2:00 am EST, we turn our clocks forward one hour as we make the shift from Standard Time to Daylight Time (EDT). So prepare for the loss of one hour of stargazing Saturday night. Well only if you have a schedule to keep, the darkness will not be one hour shorter. Regardless, set your alarm and spring ahead one hour in preparation for the spring season. If you often forget which way to turn your clocks, a good mnemonic for remembering is “In the Fall, fall back one hour. In the Spring, spring ahead one hour.” Now get ready for warmer days, shorter nights, and the return of the Milky Way galactic nucleus to the night sky.

Next week, starting Wednesday, March 18, 2020, a series of fantastic conjunctions involving Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and at times the Moon, kicks off. Next Friday we will post a schedule of conjunctions to put on your calendar and set your alarm for (as they are all in the morning hours). Additionally, we will post regularly on our Facebook and Twitter (@FrostyDrewOBSY) about coming conjunctions with info on where to look and when. This will be the year of conjunctions and it’s starting now. So get your camera, binoculars, telescope, or just your alarm clock ready for some amazing views.

-Scott

Scott MacNeill
Author:
Scott MacNeill
Entry Date:
Mar 6, 2020
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Scott MacNeill's Columns
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