Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Busy Space Day

Updated below

LUNAR ECLIPSE: On Wednesday night, February 20th, the full Moon will turn a delightful shade of red and possibly turquoise, too. It's a total lunar eclipse—the last one until Dec. 2010. Sky watchers in Europe, the Americas, parts of the Middle East and Africa are favored for good views of the two-hour event. Visit for full coverage including maps and timetables, live webcasts and discussion.

SPY SATELLITE UPDATE: The US Navy's first attempt to hit malfunctioning spy satellite USA 193 with a missile could come on Wednesday night during the lunar eclipse. This is based on an air traffic advisory warning pilots to steer clear of a patch of Pacific Ocean near Hawaii just when USA 193 is due to pass overhead. Until the satellite is shot down, it remains visible to casual sky watchers during evening passes over US and Canadian towns and cities; experienced observers say the decaying satellite is sometimes as bright as the stars of Orion, making it an easy target for unaided eyes and off-the-shelf digital cameras. Details, photos and more information are available at Subscribers to Spaceweather PHONE ( will receive email and telephone alerts when the spy-sat is about to appear over their backyards.

Update: The Navy is now saying that high seas and winds my delay any attempt to shoot down the satellite. Pardon me but I would think that a ship mounted missile system should be able to launch no matter what the seas are doing. WTF kind of design is that?

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