Mars Hill Quick Report: September 19-25
Welcome back to the Mars Hill Quick Report, a bite-sized weekly news update from Lowell Observatory! Each week, we’ll give you the short version of upcoming events at Lowell and beyond, plus a little dash of history.
☆ Tuesday, September 20
New Star Stuff Episode
Throwing DARTs: Exploring NASA’s Planetary Defense Mission
In this episode of Star Stuff, Cody, Hailey, Lowell Astronomer Dr. Nick Moskovitz, and DART Team Lead Dr. Cristina Thomas will discuss the ins and outs of NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission.
You can listen to Star Stuff on all major platforms, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher!
☆ Thursday, September 22
An equinox is the moment at which which the sun crosses directly over the celestial equator, an imaginary projection of the Earth’s equator into space. At these times, which occur twice a year, day and night are of approximately equal length. In most cultures in the northern hemisphere, the equinoxes mark the beginning of spring and fall.
The Fall Equinox occurs around September 20 each year, with slight variations due to the Gregorian calendar’s leap year cycle. The approximate moment of equinox (when the sun is directly over the celestial equator) will occur at 1:30 am UTC (universal time) on September 22, 2022. This corresponds to 6:30 PST on March 19.
On the morning of the equinox (September 22), watch for the sun rising due east on the horizon, marking the shift from winter to spring. In the evening, the Sun will set due west. In the coming weeks, you will observe that the arc of the sun is getting lower and lower in the northern hemisphere’s sky with each sunset and sunrise. As we move into winter, the sun will move further south along the horizon.
☆ Thursday, September 22 – Saturday, September 24
Flagstaff Star Party and 2022 Celebration of the Night
Flagstaff hosts the annual Flagstaff Star Party – Meet the Stars! to bring dark sky experiences to Flagstaff residents and visitors from across the Southwest and around the world. The Flagstaff Star Party’s goal is to share Flagstaff’s world–renowned dark starry skies with those who may not have the opportunity to view starry night skies because of urban sky glow, yet who have a curiosity and desire to see the beauty of a starry sky for themselves, and wish to experience with their families the wonder such views can inspire.
This Week in History
☆ September 20, 1910
Dorothy Vaugn, mathematician, human computer, and NASA’s first African American supervisor, is born.
As the head of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics’ (NACA’s) segregated West Area Computing Unit from 1949 until 1958, Dorothy Vaughan was both a respected mathematician and NASA’s first African-American manager.
Vaughan helmed West Computing for nearly a decade. In 1958, when the NACA made the transition to NASA, segregated facilities, including the West Computing office, were abolished. Dorothy Vaughan and many of the former West Computers joined the new Analysis and Computation Division (ACD), a racially and gender-integrated group on the frontier of electronic computing. Dorothy Vaughan became an expert FORTRAN programmer, and she also contributed to the Scout Launch Vehicle Program.