Earth & Moon Dance Leading to Eclipses

The currency in the realm of the heavenly “clockwork” are its cycles. From the small scale to the large, cycles are everywhere. The moon revolves around Earth; Earth revolves around the sun; and the sun revolves around the galaxy. There are cycles composed of combinations of other cycles. This month we’ll unravel the cycles underlying the upcoming total solar eclipse in August.

As discussed last month, the moon’s shadow, cast on the ground by the sun, will race across the USA from coast to coast on August 21. The movement of the shadow is due to the moon’s orbital motion as it revolves around Earth.  The moon takes about a month to go around the earth. Hence the lunar origin of the word “month” from moon.  While our calendar months vary from 28 to 31 days, the moon’s orbital period is not as variable.  Still there are two kinds of lunar months in astronomy.
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Funding and Plans for Manned Space Exploration

Last month, the new Trump administration submitted a new blueprint for NASA’s budget calling for a net overall increase. Although on a program-by-program basis there were winners and losers, the overall increase was seen to benefit NASA’s core mission competencies as far as space exploration while reducing government redundancies. Over the past several years the Obama administration had repeatedly proposed cuts for NASA, which were then overridden by Congress managing to maintain NASA funding.

There were many highlights in the new budget.  An increase in unmanned planetary science pleased the Planetary Society. In general though, I’ll focus on manned space exploration.
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Special Event – Volunteer Opportunity April 1st

Jason Campanella has been a member of WASI for close to seven years. He is also a Boy Scout in Troop 321. He is working with the Bear Branch Nature Center to install a Solar System Walk. Volunteers are needed on April 1, but if you want to volunteer please contact him first at j1a1b2c2@gmail.com. There are still details that he will have to distribute, so it is important that he knows your intent beforehand. Jason is also looking to raise a total of $200 by way of a gofundme page: https://www.gofundme.com/jasons-eagle-project.