In July, 1994 fragments of Comet Shoemaker/Levy 9 crashed into the atmosphere of Jupiter, as you can see on the LFS poster. The KAO identified water vapor from the comet at two impact sites.

On October 12, the KAO looks at Jupiter once again to measure infrared radiation from the giant planet and its four large moons. Jupiter is bright enough to be visible in the daytime for this afternoon observing run.

Using data from the original flight plan developed several months ago, you can practice plotting the course of the KAO as it observes Jupiter. (Be prepared to update the times!)
Activity UT Local Time Latitude Longitude
Departure from Ames Research Center 14:40 _________ 37(deg)25'N 122(deg)3'W
Begin Jupiter Observing 19:18 _________ 28(deg)23'N 83(deg)3'W
End Jupiter Observing 20:38 _________ 25(deg)7' N 91(deg)39'W
Arrive in Houston, Ellington AFB 21:30 _________ 30(deg)0'N 95(deg)0'W

If you have on-line access, you should be able to get direct flight data updated every five minutes.

Times will be given in Universal Time. Astronomers, astronauts, and navigators all use Universal Time so that they can easily compare locations and observations across time zones. Universal Time is the time along the 0(deg) meridian of longitude, which runs through Greenwich, England. A blank is left on the table for you to convert UT to your local time. (To change UT to Eastern Daylight Time, subtract 4 hours. To change UT to Central Daylight Time, subtract 5 hours. To change UT to Mountain Daylight Time, subtract 6 hours. To change UT to Pacific Daylight Time, subtract 7 hours. Subtract an additional hour to convert from Daylight Time to Standard Time.)

Using the longitude and latitude coordinates find each location on an atlas. Then plot the locations on the map. At the end of the flight, calculate the total ground miles covered, and the average speed.

Planning the Night Flight to the Stars

The KAO will observe five objects during the night of Oct. 13-14. From the initial flight plan, you can discover where the KAO will be during each observing leg. Use an atlas to find each location and then mark it on the map below.

Then convert the UT times to local time following the procedure in activity 2E. By subtracting the times from one object to the next, you can find the time allocated for observing each object. Using the distance, you can also calculate the KAO's speed.

Event UT Local Time Plane Location Latitude Obj.Elevation Longitude Distance (naut. mi.)Begin End
Departure Houston 0:10 ________ 30(deg)00'N 95(deg)00'W
Observing M17 0:37 ________ 30(deg)30'N 98(deg)01'W 40(deg).2 32(deg).8 426.1nm
Observing W51 1:47/td> ________ 34(deg)14'N 105(deg)09'W 67(deg).4 58(deg).1 402.5nm
Observing M57 2:52 ________ 39(deg)13'N 110(deg)16'W 64(deg).3 55(deg).1 401.0nm
Observing Saturn 3:39 ________ 44(deg)17'N 110(deg)47'W 34(deg).4 39(deg).6 364.1nm
Observing M33 4:40 ________ 41(deg)19'N 117(deg)46'W 49(deg).6 56(deg).6 233.4nm
End Observing 5:16 ________ 37(deg)21'N 117(deg)31'W
Arrival Ames 5:52 ________ 37(deg)25'N 122(deg)03'W

The object elevation tells how high the target will be above the horizon. An object on the horizon has an elevation of 0(deg). An object that is directly overhead is 90(deg). Some objects rise as the KAO observes them. Others set lower in the sky. The KAO telescope looks out the left side of the airplane. Figure out which direction the KAO telescope is pointing from the airplane's path. What is the relationship between the direction the telescope points and whether the astronomical object is rising or setting?

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