CELESTIAL delights

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Downloads & Site Notes

Site notes. March 8, 2006: For some reason, many of the documents on this site are not showing up in Google's search. I'm looking into the problem. In the meantime, you can fine a list of archived news stories here. I'm also in the process of giving the site a modest facelift, so please bear with me.

Terms of use. Animations and graphics found on this page may be used for non-commercial purposes in exchange for a credit and a link back to http://www.celestialdelights.info. Articles, as well as graphics not shown here, may not be reproduced in any form without my express written permission.


Lunar Eclipse, Nov. 8-9, 2003. This animation (400 kb) simulates the umbral phases of the November 8-9, 2003 lunar eclipse. Read the story "Pumpkin Moon" for more details.

Perseid Outbursts and the 1862 (1 Rev) Stream. This animation (156 kb) profiles the changing activity of the Perseid meteor shower from 1988 to 2002 and illustrates how the distance to the 1862 stream modulates the appearance of the most intense outbursts. Some astronomers predict a strong outburst in August 2004. Read the story here.

Night of the Red Planet. Mars makes its closest approach to Earth on August 27, 2003. This animation shows the side of Mars facing Earth and the side of Earth facing Mars for every hour (Universal Time) that day. Each frame also shows the planet's central longitude and identifies albedo features along it. The movie is available in both Windows AVI and Quicktime MOV (both 1.9 Mb). Read the story here.

2003 Mars Retrograde Loop. Between mid-June and November of 2003, the Earth first approaches and then passes Mars. The changing viewpoint causes the Red Planet to make a loop-the-loop path in the constellation Aquarius. This GIF animation (160 Kb) plots daily geocentric Mars positions during this period on an annotated map, together with stars as faint as magnitude +8.0. Read the story here.

May 2003 Total Lunar Eclipse. On May 16, 2003, the moon will glide through Earth's shadow. The eclipse actually begins on the evening of May 15 for North Americans. Adapted from a diagram in Celestial Delights, this GIF animation (220 Kb) shows the course of the moon through the Earth's shadow and the times of its contacts in UT; subtract four hours to convert to Eastern Daylight Time. An inset shows the corresponding view of Earth as seen from the moon. Read the story here.

2003 Mercury Transit. On May 7, 2003, the planet Mercury slides across the sun's disk. This is the first Mercury transit since 1999; the next occurs in November 2006. This GIF animation (800 Kb) shows Mercury's position on the sun -- and the Earth hemisphere from which it can be seen -- for each UT hour of the event; subtract four hours to convert to Eastern Daylight Time. Read the story here.

Mars 2003. On August 27, 2003, we pass within 34.7 million miles of the Red Planet. Mars will be closer to our planet than at any time in the past 60,000 years. This movie shows the dramatic changes to the angular size of Mars over the course of 2003. The movie is available in two formats: Windows AVI (550 Kb) and Quicktime MOV (550 Kb). Read the story here.

Mars Poster. By any measure, 2003 will be the best year for Mars observing this decade. The sequence of Mars maps on this poster (1.3 Mb) plots changes in the planet's phase and angular size every fourteen days throughout 2003. The poster shows martian surface features as they appear at 0h Universal Time on each date. Because the rotational rates of Mars and Earth are almost the same, Mars presents the same features to us for several successive nights. The planet's features rotate about 224 degrees over the fourteen days between poster images. This means that adjacent Mars maps show nearly opposite hemispheres. Read the story here.

Thanks to Josť Roberto Costa of Zenite.nu for the Portuguese translation.

Leonids 2002. In November 2002, Earth skimmed past the clouds of dusty debris from comet Tempel-Tuttle. The resulting storm of Leonid meteors is expected to be the last until at least 2098. This animation (900 Kb) compares meteor activity predictions of four mathematical models with actual meteor counts, shows the Earth hemisphere facing into the stream, and illustrates Earth's position relative to the dust clouds for each hour of the encounter.