Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Stationkeeping Maneuver #11 is Today

SDO will execute Stationkeeping Maneuver #11 today from about 2245-2315 UTC (6:45-7:15 p.m. ET). This Delta-V burn is used to keep the observatory within the assigned orbital box. During the maneuver the science data is usually not valid as the spacecraft slews away from the Sun to orient the thrusters in the correct direction.
The next eclipse season starting August 25, 2015, giving us more chances to see the Earth's limb against the Sun. Eclipse season ends September 17.

The next lunar transit on September 13 will have two firsts. The eclipse by the Earth will happen just before the transit and finish while the Moon is still crossing the Sun. At the same time a partial solar eclipse will be visible in the South between Antarctica and Africa. This will be the first time an SDO lunar transit could be seen as a solar eclipse on Earth. The movie of the combined eclipse and transit looks like a race between two spacecraft.

A month later we see another lunar transit on October 12 from 1718 to 1734 UTC (1:18-1:34 pm ET). This is more of a glancing blow but will be cool to watch.