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Thread: Hi; Moon we are back!!!

  1. #16
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    Chang'e-4

    The ironic thing here is that I'm not confident that the PRC knows Pink Floyd at all.

    Chang'e-4: China mission primed for landing on Moon's far side
    By Paul Rincon
    Science editor, BBC News website
    3 hours ago


    GETTY IMAGES
    An employee inspects a 1:8 scale model of the Chang'e-4 lunar probe

    China is preparing to make the first attempt at landing robotic spacecraft on the Moon's far side.

    A static lander and rover are expected to be deployed to the surface in the next day, state media reports.

    The vehicles are carrying a suite of instruments designed to characterise the region's geology, as well as a biological experiment.

    In recent days, the Chang'e-4 spacecraft had lowered its orbit in preparation for landing.

    At the weekend, Chinese state media said the probe had entered an elliptical path around the Moon, bringing the vehicles to within 15km (9 miles) of the lunar surface at its closest point.

    Authorities have not specified the exact time of the attempt to touch down in the Von Kármán crater. But a report in the state-run China Daily newspaper suggests Chang'e-4 could begin descending on its thrusters sometime from 2-3 January.

    Targeting the far side turns this mission into a riskier and more complex venture than its predecessor, Chang'e-3 - which touched down in the Moon's Mare Imbrium region in 2013. But China's latest moon shot will pave the way for the country to deliver samples of lunar rock and dust to Earth.

    Andrew Coates, professor of physics at UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory in Surrey, told BBC News: "This daring mission will land nearly 50 years on from the historic Apollo landings and will be followed in late 2019 by a Chinese sample return mission."


    NASA
    The near side (L) and far side (R) of the Moon have some key differences

    Because of a phenomenon called "tidal locking", we see only one "face" of the Moon from Earth. This is because the Moon takes just as long to rotate on its own axis as it takes to complete one orbit of Earth.

    The lunar far side is often referred to as the "dark side", though "dark" in this case means "unseen" rather than "lacking light". In fact, both the near and far sides of the Moon experience daytime and night-time.

    But the far side has a thicker, older crust that is pocked with more craters. There are also very few of the "mare" - dark basaltic "seas" created by lava flows - that are evident on the near side.

    The Von Kármán crater is located within a much larger feature - the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) Basin - thought to have been formed by a giant impact early in the Moon's history.

    "This huge structure is over 2,500km in diameter and 13km deep, one of the largest impact craters in the Solar System and the largest, deepest and oldest basin on the Moon," Prof Coates told me.

    And therein lies the scientific interest. The event responsible for carving out the SPA basin is thought to have been so powerful, it punched through the outer layer of the Moon, known as the crust, and down into the zone called the mantle. Researchers will want to train the instruments on any mantle rocks exposed by the calamity.


    CNSA
    Artwork: The Chang'e-4 rover will explore a huge impact basin on the far side


    CNSA
    Artwork: The lander and the rover were originally built as back-ups for a previous Moon mission

    The science team also hopes to study parts of the sheet of melted rock that would have filled the newly formed South Pole-Aitken Basin, allowing them to identify variations in its composition.

    A third objective is to study the far side regolith, the broken up rocks and dust that make up the surface.

    "The in-situ composition information in particular will be hugely valuable in understanding the formation of the Moon," Andrew Coates commented.

    Landing challenge

    Up until now, China has followed in the footsteps of US and Soviet missions, carefully building up its capabilities. But this mission marks a first for any space agency.

    The rugged character of the far side, with its undulating topography, poses particular challenges for landing the vehicles safely.

    Touching down on a jagged outcrop would spell instant mission failure - and be a significant setback for the Chinese exploration programme.


    GETTY IMAGES
    A mock-up of the Chang'e-4 lander and rover, on display in Dongguan, China

    The selection of the Von Kármán crater as the landing site owes much to the fact that it's flatter than any spot in the South Pole-Aitken basin, according to Chinese scientists.

    The descent to the lunar surface is split into six phases. The first three - initial deceleration, quick attitude and reorientation adjustment, and approach - will be controlled from Earth.

    For the final three - hovering, hazard avoidance, and slow descent - the lander will take over, assuming autonomous control.

    Seeds and eggs

    The lander and rover were originally built as back-ups for 2013's Chang'e-3 mission. However, they have received important modifications for the ambitious touchdown on the far side.

    Chang'e-4's static lander is carrying two cameras; a German-built radiation experiment called LND; and a spectrometer that will perform low-frequency radio astronomy observations.

    Scientists believe the far side could be an excellent place to perform radio astronomy, because it is shielded from the radio noise of Earth. The spectrometer work will aim to test this idea.

    The lander will also carry a 3kg (6.6lb) container with potato and arabidopsis plant seeds - as well as silkworm eggs - to perform biological studies. The "lunar mini biosphere" experiment was designed by 28 Chinese universities.

    The rover will carry a panoramic camera; a radar to probe beneath the lunar surface; an imaging spectrometer to identify minerals; and an experiment to examine the interaction of the solar wind (a stream of energised particles from the Sun) with the lunar surface.

    In an article for the US-based Planetary Society in September, Dr Long Xiao from the China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), said: "Chang'e-4 will be humanity's first landed exploration of the lunar far side. The challenge faced by a far side mission is communications. With no view of Earth, there is no way to establish a direct radio link."

    Thus, the landers must communicate with Earth using a relay satellite named Queqiao, launched by China in May this year.

    Queqiao orbits 65,000km (40,000mi) beyond the Moon, around a Lagrange point - a kind of gravitational parking spot in space where it will remain visible to ground stations in China and other countries such as Argentina.

    The lander and rover was launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China on 7 December; the vehicles arrived in lunar orbit on 12 December.

    The mission is part of a larger Chinese programme of lunar exploration. The first and second Chang'e missions were designed to gather data from orbit, while the third and fourth were built for surface operations.

    Chang'e-5 and 6 are sample return missions, delivering lunar rock and soil to laboratories on Earth.
    Gene Ching
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  2. #17
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    The dragon has landed

    ‘New Chapter’ in Space Exploration as China Reaches Far Side of the Moon


    The Chang’e-4 lunar probe being launched from Xichang, China, last month. CreditReuters
    By Steven Lee Myers and Zoe Mou
    Jan. 2, 2019

    27
    阅读简体中文版閱讀繁體中文版
    BEIJING — China reached a milestone in space exploration on Thursday, landing a vehicle on the far side of the moon for the first time in history, the country’s space agency announced.

    The landing of the probe, called Chang’e-4 after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology, is one in a coming series of missions that underscore the country’s ambitions to join — and even lead — the space race.

    China landed another rover on the moon in 2013, joining the United States and the Soviet Union as the only nations to have carried out a “soft landing” there, but the Chang’e-4 is the first to touch down on the side of the moon that perpetually faces away from the Earth.

    The mission “has opened a new chapter in humanity’s exploration of the moon,” the China National Space Administration said in an announcement on its website. The agency said the spacecraft landed at 10:26 a.m. Beijing time at its target on the far side of the moon.

    The probe sent back to the earth the first close-up image of the moon’s far side using a relay satellite China calls “Queqiao,” or “Magpie Bridge,” the space agency said in a notice that included images it said were taken by the probe.

    Although a latecomer by decades to space exploration, China is quickly catching up, experts say, and could challenge the United States for supremacy in artificial intelligence, quantum computing and other fields.

    China landed a probe called Chang’e-4 on the far side of the moon for the first time on Thursday. The probe captured never-before-seen images of the moon’s far side.Published OnJan. 3, 2019CreditCreditChina National Space Administration
    “This space mission shows that China has reached the advanced world-class level in deep space exploration,” said Zhu Menghua, a professor at the Macau University of Science and Technology who has worked closely with the Chinese space agency. “We Chinese people have done something that the Americans have not dared try.”

    China now plans to begin fully operating its third space station by 2022, to put astronauts in a lunar base by later in that decade, and to send probes to Mars, including ones that could return samples of the Martian surface back to Earth.

    Though the moon is hardly untrodden ground after decades of exploration, a new landing is far more than just a propaganda coup, experts say.

    The crater where the Chinese landed is the oldest and deepest on the moon, so the probe’s discoveries may offer insights into the moon’s origins and evolution. And some scientists suspect that the surrounding basin may be rich in minerals. If exploiting the moon’s resources is the next step in space development, a successful mission could leave the Chinese better positioned.

    “This is a major achievement technically and symbolically,” said Namrata Goswami, an independent analyst who wrote about space for the Defense Department’s Minerva Research Institute. “China views this landing as just a steppingstone, as it also views its future manned lunar landing, since its long-term goal is to colonize the moon and use it as a vast supply of energy.”

    The place the probe is exploring, Dr. Goswami said, could become a future refueling base for missions deeper into space in the way “navies viewed coaling stations, for purposes of refueling and resupply.”

    The Chang’e-4 was launched from Xichang, in southwestern China, early on the morning of Dec. 8 (still midday Dec. 7 in the United States), and it glided into a final, lower orbit around the moon on Sunday, 22 days later.

    It landed in the Von Kármán, a flat feature about 110 miles wide that sits inside a larger basin near the moon’s south pole. The main lander will release a 300-pound rover that, barring mishap, will roam the crater. (The rover’s name, the subject of a public contest and vote, has not yet been revealed.)

    The instruments aboard the lander and the rover include cameras, ground-penetrating radar and spectrometers to help identify the composition of the area, which was formed by a meteorite. Scientists hope the rocks and dirt in the area will add to the understanding of the moon’s geology.

    The lander will also conduct a biology experiment to see if plant seeds will germinate and silkworm eggs will hatch in the moon’s low gravity.

    Since the moon prevents direct communications from the far side, China launched a satellite to act as a relay, allowing the rover to bounce signals off it first before they continue back to earthbound scientists.

    China’s first lunar lander, the Chang’e-3, completed a journey to the near side of the moon five years ago. Its rover was plagued with problems, though. Within a month, the rover stopped moving after zigzagging 374 feet, though it continued intermittently to transmit photographs and other information, according to Chinese officials, until March 2015.

    The fear of losing face over failures, as well as the sensitivity of the technology involved, has made the Chinese government reluctant to discuss its programs in detail, compared with the relative openness of NASA and other space programs. Last April, a Chinese space station, the Tiangong-1, fell to earth after officials lost communication with it.

    Ahead of the landing, reports about the Chang’e-4 were fairly sparse — leaving astronomy experts and amateurs scouring for clues.

    By contrast, in recent days, American space officials were openly exulting over the success of a NASA spacecraft, New Horizons, in capturing photos of Ultima Thule, a small, icy world four billion miles from Earth.

    Some people might ask, “So what?” said John M. Logsdon, an emeritus professor at the Space Policy Institute at George Washington University, but scientists take a different view.

    “We learn more about the moon,” Dr. Logsdon said. “It’s going to a place that no spacecraft has ever visited, so it’s true exploration.”


    A model of the Chang’e-4 probe at an exhibition in Zhuhai, China. China’s goal is not just to join the space race, but to lead it. Credit Reuters

    China’s membership in the elite ranks of space nations has unquestionably been a source of national pride, carefully managed to emphasize the Communist Party’s strong and steady leadership.

    China is only the third country — it followed the United States and Russia — to send its own astronauts into space aboard its own rockets. The first crewed mission took place in 2003, and the Chinese have since sent a total of 11 astronauts into space. In 2016, two of them spent 30 days in China’s space station.

    In 2018, for the first time, China launched more rockets into space — 38 — than any other country; one launch failed in October. Another moon landing, of the Chang’e-5, is planned for later this year.

    Many of the launches last year carried satellites for China’s own version of the Global Positioning System, which already covers China and much of Asia. China hopes its system, called Beidou, will cover the entire globe by next year, and become a commercial and political rival to the American one.

    If the International Space Station is decommissioned — the Trump administration has proposed ending federal financing for it by 2025 — the Tiangong-2 could become the only space station in orbit. The International Space Station has played host to astronauts from more than a dozen countries, but China has never been among them.

    The Chinese space agency has experienced setbacks, including the failed launch in 2017 of a new heavy-lift rocket, the Long March 5. That caused a ripple of delays that is still being felt. The country’s space budget also remains far smaller than NASA’s.

    Even so, conquering space remains a national priority. And the country’s political system, dominated by the Communist Party and President Xi Jinping, means that funding and planning are less vulnerable to political mood swings like those that have affected NASA’s budgets over the years.

    “Deep-space exploration requires a tremendous amount of time and money,” Mr. Zhu, the Macau professor, said. “This is not something a small country is able to do.”

    He said he was confident that “in several years or a decade, China will gradually catch up from behind and take a leading role in this area.”

    Follow Steven Lee Myers on Twitter: @stevenleemyers.

    Eric Nagourney contributed reporting from New York.
    Pink Floyd's Brain Damage has been playing in my head all day.
    Gene Ching
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  3. #18
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    Needed an article with a pic



    BREAKING: China Just Made History by Landing a Probe on The Far Side of The Moon
    DAVID NIELD 3 JAN 2019
    It's another momentous day in the history of space exploration: the China National Space Administration (CNSA) has reportedly just landed its Chang'e-4 rover on the far side of the Moon, marking the first time we've been able to explore this hidden side of the lunar surface.

    Not only that, the rover has already sent back its first image, and it's absolutely breathtaking.


    (China National Space Administration/Xinhua News Agency)

    With the Moon tidally locked with Earth – taking the same amount of time to spin round on its axis as it does to orbit our planet – one half of it is always hidden from view.

    Now, we should be able to get a detailed look at it.

    As we've previously reported, the Chang'e-4 lander will relay messages via the Queqiao satellite, which is now sitting in orbit around the Moon. As Chang'e-4 will never be in a direct line of sight with Earth, that satellite relay is going to be essential.

    And the new exploratory probe could return a whole host of valuable data: examining the geological make-up of the surface around the South Pole-Aitken basin, a part of the Moon we currently know very little about.

    It's thought that the basin was created by a huge collision early in the Moon's history – which means materials from lower down in the Moon's mantle that we haven't been able to get to yet could be exposed in this region.

    And the more we know about the Moon, the more we can figure out about the history of our planet and our Solar System. The lander should also be able to make some useful observations of deep space, without Earth getting in the way.

    China Daily reports that the lunar probe touched down at 10.26am Beijing local time on Thursday the 3rd of January, arriving in the Von Kármán crater (named after Theodore von Kármán, the advisor to the founder of the Chinese space program, Qian Xuesen).

    The journey from Earth started on the 8th of December but of course the project as a whole has been years in the making.

    We've known for a long time about the CNSA's ambitions to get a probe landed on the far side of the Moon – and it has now made good on its promise.

    View image on Twitter
    View image on Twitter

    CGTN

    @CGTNOfficial
    #BREAKING China's Chang'e-4 probe lands successfully on far side of the moon at 10:26 a.m. BJT Thursday, marking the first ever soft-landing in this uncharted area

    2,244
    8:12 PM - Jan 2, 2019
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    Check out this Twitter thread from the China Global Television Network for some awesome shots taken as the Chang'e-4 lander touched down on the far side of the Moon. As yet no hidden alien civilisations have been discovered – but it's early days.

    While spacecraft have been able to take photographs of the far side of the Moon before, this is the first time we've ever managed to successfully land something on the surface: NASA's Ranger 4 probe touched down in 1962, but ended up malfunctioning and didn't send any data back.

    We're looking forward to the treasure trove of data Chang'e-4 sends back, but the CNSA aren't stopping here – Chang'e-5 is scheduled to launch by 2020, with the aim of landing on the Moon and then returning to Earth.
    Positive news is disturbingly refreshing.
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  4. #19
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    I'll see you on the far side of the moon

    The Moon has a far side, not a dark one
    Oh hey, Pink Floyd
    By Rachel Becker Jan 3, 2019, 5:28pm EST


    Photo: China National Space Administration

    China now has two history-making robots sending back images from an area of the Moon where humankind has never been before. This side of the Moon is distant and mysterious, but, despite pop culture references to the contrary, it isn’t always dark. In fact, after touching down on the lunar surface, the probe sent back a snapshot of its new home that shows a rocky, cratered, and distinctly lit landscape.

    China’s probe — which includes a lander and a rover — landed at 10:26AM Thursday, Beijing time, as part of China’s Chang’e-4 mission to scout out the side of the Moon we can’t see from Earth. Since it takes the Moon roughly the same amount of time to spin around its axis as it does to orbit the Earth, we only see one half of the Moon: its near side. China’s landing on the Moon’s far side was a world first, in part because of the technical difficulties posed by that distance. It’s really difficult to get radio signals from Earth to robots on the far side — or vice versa — when the entire bulk of the Moon is planted in between.

    China's #Change4 rover is now in action on the far side of the Moon. pic.twitter.com/sZSmR6KCt8

    — LunarOrbiter (@LunarOrbiter) January 3, 2019
    China bridged the signal gap by sending up a satellite called Queqiao, which communicates with the probe and relays information, including photos, back to Earth. There’s light in the photos because there’s light on the far side of the Moon: in fact, there is no permanently dark side of the Moon. “Half the moon is always lit by the Sun — just like the Earth,” Frederick Walter, a professor of physics and astronomy at Stony Brook University, says in an email to The Verge.


    Image: NASA

    Our planet experiences daylight and night because Earth spins on its axis as it orbits the Sun. The side pointing toward the Sun is bright, the side pointing away is night. Over the course of 24 hours, the slow spin of the world cycles through both. (Things get weird at the poles, but even they experience both light and darkness.) The Moon goes through a similar cycle, but on a slower schedule: a full lunar day is roughly 29 Earth days long. Walter calculates that when the Chang’e-4 probe touched down on the Moon’s far side, it was roughly 9AM local lunar time.


    “Where the Chinese lander came down, it’s daylight,” Walter says. Shots taken by a camera on the Chang’e-4 lander show the rover, called Yutu-2, casting a shadow on the Moon’s surface, the Planetary Society reports. That’s perfect for the mission, which relies on solar power, according to The New York Times.



    China Xinhua News

    @XHNews
    What does the far side of the moon look like?
    China's Chang'e-4 probe gives you the answer.
    It landed on the never-visible side of the moon Jan. 3 http://xhne.ws/zPoty

    4,870
    9:14 PM - Jan 2, 2019
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    Even though you won’t be able to see their landing site, you’ll be able to tell when the Chang’e-4 lander and Yutu-2 are bathed in light or cloaked in darkness just by looking up at the sky on a cloudless night. When the Sun is shining fully on the side of the Moon facing Earth, we see a bright, full Moon — but the far side of the Moon is dark. And when the Sun lights up the far side of the Moon, the near side is dark and we see a new Moon. In between, the waxing and waning Moon will mark whether the robots are entering dusk or dawn.

    In the meantime, astronomers and space enthusiasts will await any news from the mission. We’ve seen distant glimpses of the far side of the Moon before. The first time was in 1959, when the Soviet Luna 3 spacecraft took a grainy photo of the far side’s crater-covered landscape. Since then, NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has captured photos and mapped the surface, so we can see the far side in crisp, composite images.

    But those images were all still taken from a distance. Now that China’s probe has touched down, we’re getting a closer look than ever before. The spacecraft landed on target in the Von Kármán crater in the South Pole-Aitken basin, according to China’s state media. The basin is a massive, 1,550-mile-wide impact site that’s miles deep and billions of years old. The Yutu-2 rover is equipped with ground-penetrating radar to investigate beneath the Moon’s surface. And while we wait for it to collect its scientific data, we can enjoy the views it sends back of the far side of the Moon — which, right now, is sunlit.
    Fair enough. But the terms 'dark side' and 'far side' evoke very different things for me. It's like Darth vs. Larsen, right?
    Gene Ching
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  5. #20
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    Moon mustard & silk

    Imagine what moon mustard/cabbage and moon silk might be worth...

    There Are Plants and Animals on the Moon Now (Because of China)
    By Rafi Letzter, Staff Writer | January 3, 2019 03:05pm ET


    Credit: World Perspectives/Getty Images

    China's Chang'e-4 lander touched down on the far side of the moon (Jan. 3 Beijing time, Jan. 2 US), and it's got some living things on board.

    A small "tin" in the lander contains seeds of potatoes and rockcress (Arabidopsis thaliana, a flowering plant related to cabbage and mustard, as well as a model organism for plant biology), as well as silkworm eggs. The idea, according to a report in The Telegraph earlier this year, is that the plants will support the silkworms with oxygen, and the silkworms will in turn provide the plants with necessary carbon dioxide and nutrients through their waste. The researchers will watch the plants carefully to see whether the plants successfully perform photosynthesis, and grow and bloom in the lunar environment.

    "We want to study the respiration of the seeds and the photosynthesis on the moon," Xie Gengxin, chief designer of the experiment, told Xinhua, a Chinese state-run news agency. [See Spectacular Lunar Mission Images in 3D (Photos)]

    The "biosphere" experiment was the product of a collaboration between 28 Chinese universities, led by southwest China's Chongqing University, according to Xinhua. The experiment, which is tucked inside a 1.4-pint (0.8 liters) aluminum alloy cylinder, weighs about 7 lbs. (3 kilograms) and includes dirt, nutrients and water. Sunlight will filter into the container through a "tube," and small cameras will watch the little environment. That data will beam back to Earth by means of the complicated relay system China has set up to communicate with an experiment that has no direct line of sight to Earth.

    "Why potato and Arabidopsis? Because the growth period of Arabidopsis is short and convenient to observe. And potato could become a major source of food for future space travelers," said Liu Hanlong, chief director of the experiment and vice president of Chongqing University, as reported by Xinhua. "Our experiment might help accumulate knowledge for building a lunar base and long-term residence on the moon."

    Rockcress has been grown in space before, including in one experiment on the International Space Station that showed the plants' leaves appearing to rise and fall as they detected the moon's gravity. But whether the flowering plant will flourish in the environment of the far side of the moon remains an open question.

    For now, though, this means that there's life in at least one other place in the solar system (even if it's only because we put it there).

    Originally published on Live Science.
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  6. #21
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    Best pix from Smithsonian


    Yutu-2 sets off on its inaugural journey. (China National Space Administration)


    One first images captured by Chang'e-4 near Von Karman crater. (China National Space Administration)

    Best Photos From China’s Far Side Moon Landing
    The Chang’e-4 probe and its rover Yutu-2 are the first spacecraft to land on the little-explored lunar region
    By Jason Daley
    SMITHSONIAN.COM
    JANUARY 7, 2019

    China’s Chang’e-4 lander reached the Von Kármán crater near the moon’s South Pole on Wednesday, marking the first time a human craft has visited the lunar far side.

    The first upclose images of the far side’s surface came in shortly after via a satellite called “Queqiao,” report Steven Lee Myers and Zoe Mou at The New York Times.

    The Guardian reports that, about 12 hours after the landing, a small rover named Yutu-2, or Jade Rabbit-2, left the Chang’e-4 spacecraft and began exploring the crater, which is part of the South Pole-Aitken basin, one of the largest known impact structures in our solar system.

    Chang’e-4 weighs about four metric tons and carries eight instruments on board, including an infrared spectrometer, panoramic camera and lunar penetrating radar, writes Andrew Jones at Smithsonian.com. It will also collect mineral and geological samples of the moon’s surface as well as investigate the impact of solar wind on the moon. The craft even has its own little farm, or lunar biosphere, aboard—the first of its kind. Part of an experiment designed by university students, it contains silkworm eggs, potato seeds and Arabidopsis, a model organism used in space plant studies.

    Because the far side of the moon is shielded from the radio signals coming from Earth, Chang’e-4 will conduct low frequency radio experiments using a new technique. Astronomers plan to connect a radio instrument on the landing craft with one aboard the Queqiao satellite and use the dual-system as a radio telescope—free from noisy radio interference that is common closer to Earth, reports Michael Greshko at National Geographic.

    “This will allow us for the first time to do radio observation at low frequencies that are not possible from Earth, from close to the moon and on the moon,” Radboud University astronomer Marc Klein Wolt, who leads the project, tells Greshko. “This will pave the way for a future large radio facility on the moon to study the very early universe in the period before the first stars were formed.”

    While such experiments are valuable, the landing is also considered an important accomplishment for the Chinese space program, which is quickly catching up to the decades-old United States and Russian space programs. Landing on the far side required a high level of technical expertise and unique communications solutions, Smithsonian.com’s Jones points out.

    “This is a major achievement technically and symbolically,” Namrata Goswami, an independent space analyst, tells The New York Times. “China views this landing as just a stepping stone, as it also views its future manned lunar landing, since its long-term goal is to colonize the moon and use it as a vast supply of energy.”

    In the last two decades, China has ramped up its space program, launching two space stations and sending dozens of satellites into space. Besides the U.S. and Russia, it is the only nation to send its own astronauts into space. It first visited the near side of the moon in 2013 with its Chang’e-3 lander and rover. Later in 2019, the nation plans to land Chang’e-5 on the near side of the moon and then send a sample of the moon’s surface back to Earth. In 2022, China is slated to launch another space station into orbit and has plans to establish a lunar colony later in that decade.

    While the success of Chang'e-4 is being universally celebrated by the scientific community, space policy expert Wendy Whitman Cobb at The Conversation wonders whether its an indication of second space race. The U.S. recently announced a 10-year, $2.6 billion effort to return to the moon and construct an orbiting space station. Russia has also announced intentions to send missions to the moon in the near future.
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    About Jason Daley
    Jason Daley is a Madison, Wisconsin-based writer specializing in natural history, science, travel, and the environment. His work has appeared in Discover, Popular Science, Outside, Men’s Journal, and other magazines.
    'There is no dark side of the moon really. As a matter of fact it's all dark.'
    Gene Ching
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  7. #22
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    It's alive!

    ALIVE!

    Cottoning on: Chinese seed sprouts on moon
    January 15, 2019


    The sprout has emerged inside a canister since the Chang'e-4 lander set down on the moon's surface earlier this month

    A small green shoot is growing on the moon in an out-of-this-world first after a cotton seed germinated on board a Chinese lunar lander, scientists said Tuesday.

    The sprout has emerged from a lattice-like structure inside a canister since the Chang'e-4 lander set down earlier this month, according to a series of photos released by the Advanced Technology Research Institute at Chongqing University.

    "This is the first time humans have done biological growth experiments on the lunar surface," said Xie Gengxin, who led the design of the experiment.

    The Chang'e-4 probe—named after a Chinese moon goddess—made the world's first soft landing on the moon's "dark side" on January 3, a major step in China's ambitions to become a space superpower.

    Scientists from Chongqing University —who designed the "mini lunar biosphere" experiment—sent an 18-centimetre (seven-inch) bucket-like container holding air, water and soil.

    Inside are cotton, potato, and arabidopsis seeds—a plant of the mustard family—as well as fruit fly eggs and yeast.

    Images sent back by the probe show a cotton sprout has grown well, but so far none of the other plants has taken, the university said.

    Chang'e-4 is also equipped with instruments developed by scientists from Sweden, Germany and China to study the lunar environment, cosmic radiation and the interaction between solar wind and the moon's surface.

    The lander released a rover, dubbed Yutu-2 (Jade Rabbit), that will perform experiments in the Von Karman Crater.

    The agency said four more lunar missions are planned, confirming the launch of a probe by the end of the year to bring back samples from the moon.

    China wants to establish a lunar research base one day, possibly using 3D printing technology to build facilities, the Chinese space agency said Monday.
    Gene Ching
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  8. #23
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    bummer

    While this experiment failed, science is based on failed experiments. Good effort.

    China Tried To Grow Cotton On The Moon, But It Didn't Work
    January 17, 20195:03 PM ET
    AMY HELD


    The lunar lander of the Chang'e-4 probe is seen on Jan. 11. The seeds that scientists hoped would thrive within a biodome aboard have all died.
    AP via China National Space Administration via Xinhua News Agency

    It turned out to be the little sprout that couldn't.

    The vaunted cotton seeds that on Tuesday China said had defied the odds to sprout on the moon — albeit inside a controlled environment — have died.

    China's state-run Xinhua News Agency announced the news, simply stating: "The experiment has ended."

    But China's greater Chang'e-4 mission goes on. Earlier this month, China announced it had become the first country to land a probe on the far side of the moon, in what is largely a scientific mission and is also preparation for sending Chinese astronauts to the moon.

    Tucked aboard the spacecraft were seeds within a biosphere equipped with some of the comforts of home: water, soil, air and a heat control system, Chinese researchers said. Once the probe touched down, ground control instructed the probe to water the seeds.

    And on Tuesday Chongqing University announced that photographs of tender cotton shoots revealed "the first green leaf growing on the moon in human history was successfully realized."

    A claim, which while perhaps technically correct, may not be precise.

    "China has grown the first leaf in a specially designed chamber that was placed on the moon," Melanie J. Correll, associate professor at the University of Florida's Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department told NPR in an email. "[The] plants were not exposed to the extreme environments of the moon."

    But still the conditions proved too harsh.

    Xie Gengxin of Chongqing University, who designed the experiment, told CNN that the temperature inside the biosphere was bouncing around so much that no life could be sustained and the control team remotely shut down power inside.

    In all, Chongqing University said it sent six organisms to the moon, including potato seeds, yeast and fruit flies.

    But Xie told CNN that the temperature swings were so extreme they likely killed everything.

    The Xinhua news agency quoted China's National Space Administration as saying, "the organisms will gradually decompose in the totally enclosed canister."

    Despite their reaching an untimely end, Simon Gilroy, Professor of Botany at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, told NPR that the seeds are still germinating big hopes.

    "If we want to live longer-term off the surface of the Earth, could we take along the biology that we use to keep us alive?" he said. "It's fantastic to be able to sort of say, yeah, it's a first tiny step down that path."

    Yet the answer to a key question remains elusive, Gilroy said: "How do you become a good gardener in space?"

    "Trying to move the Earth's environment to the moon is the hardest thing," Gilroy said. "You need water, light, the temperature has to be right and you have to provide the nutrients you normally get from the soil."

    Correll said as scientists and engineers work on improving the technology needed to grow plants remotely, the plants themselves may also hold the answer. "These types of studies are critical in order to develop new plants designed for these challenging environments and to grow them to support long-term human space exploration," Correll said.
    Gene Ching
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  9. #24
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    Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

    Ironic that the super blood wolf moon is on a SUNday, but who can resist a super blood wolf moon?

    How to see the last 'super blood wolf moon' lunar eclipse for 18 years
    Everything you need to know about the rare conjunction of celestial events coming up this weekend.

    BY ERIC MACK
    JANUARY 17, 2019 11:31 AM PST


    A 2018 super blood moon as seen from Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado.
    NPS/Patrick Myers

    Things are going to get a little weird in the night sky the evening of Sunday, Jan. 20 (or the early morning of Monday, Jan. 21 in Europe), but don't worry. It's just some rare cosmic geometry that will turn a big ol' full moon a spooky shade of crimson for a spell.

    Three elements make a "super blood wolf moon," but the part that makes it so rare it happens only three times this century is the least impressive. A "wolf moon" is simply the folk name for a moon that happens in the month of January.

    Take that away and you've got a super blood moon, which is a total lunar eclipse that happens at "perigee syzygy." I know some people mistrust words like syzygy without any proper vowels, so let's stick with supermoon from here on.

    A total lunar eclipse is referred to as a blood moon because when the sun, Earth and moon all line up briefly, the shadow of the Earth casts a reddish shadow on its lone natural satellite. Then there's the supermoon part, meaning the moon is at the point in its orbit where it's just a little bit closer to us, making it seem 10 to 15 percent larger in the sky.

    We get two to five supermoons every year, while the gap between blood moons is anywhere from six months to about three years. You can also plan on around one to five super blood moons each decade, but they only fall in January three times this century (the third and final 21st-century super blood wolf moon barely qualifies, since it falls at the very end of the month on Jan. 31, 2037).

    The entirety of the total lunar eclipse on Sunday night will be visible from all of North and South America, save for the Aleutian Islands in Alaska. West Africa and the western half of Europe will also get to take in most of the show.

    Starting at around 7:34 p.m. PT or 10:34 p.m. ET Sunday, a partial eclipse will begin, with the full eclipse starting a little over an hour later. You can safely look at the blood moon from anywhere skies are clear enough, unlike solar eclipses that require special eye protection in most cases. The main event lasts about an hour.

    If skies don't cooperate or you can't be bothered to step outside for some reason to see it for yourself, you can catch the livestream from the Virtual Telescope Project in Rome below. There's also a handful of other eclipses still to come in 2019.
    Unfortunately rain is forecasted for my 'hood.
    Gene Ching
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  10. #25
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    Full Worm Supermoon for Spring Equinox

    March's 'Full Worm Supermoon' to coincide with spring equinox
    by CODY MILLER, KSNV Staff Sunday, March 17th 2019


    The Full Worm Supermoon will be this year's third and final supermoon. (Photo: NASA/Goddard/Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter via MGN Online)

    LAS VEGAS (KSNV) - This year’s third and final supermoon is set to coincide with the spring equinox on Wednesday, March 20.

    The Full Worm Supermoon will mark the first time a full moon and the spring equinox (or vernal equinox) have coincided within four hours of each other in 19 years, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac.

    If you didn’t get enough of the Super Blood Wolf Moon in January or the Full Snow Supermoon in February, the Full Worm Supermoon is expected to appear brighter and bigger than normal given that the sky is clear and dark.

    Wondering about the funny name?

    The Old Farmer’s Almanac says that Native American and other traditional names for full moons were created to track the seasons.

    March’s supermoon is called the Full Worm Moon because the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts begin to appear, which brings robins and other birds to feed, marking the start of spring.

    Another name for the March moon is the Full Sap Moon.

    The Full Worm Supermoon will be on full display beginning around 9:40 p.m. EST/6:40 p.m. PST March 20.
    THREADS
    Hi; Moon we are back!!!
    Happy Equinox!
    Gene Ching
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  11. #26
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    Double Libra Full Moon

    A Rare Double Libra Full Moon Will Bring You To The Edge.
    By Self Develop Shop - April 14, 2019



    On 19th April, the Full Moon will be occurring in Libra. This will be a special kind of Full Moon because the first one had just happened in the same sign on 20th March.

    This makes this Full Moon the Double Full Moon in Libra. Double Full Moons are special and powerful. It is about making us conscious about our subconscious thoughts and what’s hidden deep within.

    The Double Full Moon in April is taking place in Libra which means relationships will turn out to be the main focus.

    But don’t think that relationships are something external to you. The relationships can be internal too – the relationship that we have with our inner selves.

    The April 19th Libra Full Moon is going to happen opposite the planet of transformation, Uranus.

    It’s an alignment that you will make you crave for change so much that you can end up being impulsive and restless. Due to your impulsive behavior, you can end up causing tension in your close relationships.

    But that is not all. The Full Moon will also focus on the imbalances present in your relationships so that you can work on them too. You will be feeling a desire to break out of your routine and end up doing something out of the ordinary.

    There will be changes along the way which will disrupt your intention, but don’t let it put you down. Keep an open mind and you will be able to experience the thrill of novelty.

    However, if you get too impulsive, there’s a chance that you will be standing against authority and take risks that are not only unnecessary but foolish.

    Due to your impulsive behavior, you will be making a mountain of a molehill. Minor dramas will rub you in the wrong way and you will end up making a huge scene about it.

    You don’t want that in your life right now at this moment of the Full Moon. So, the best thing to do now is to be a bit rational about it and try developing a proper plan before going for something

    You would like to independent and that is fine. However, you should remember that independence can disrupt several things in your life. You can have mood swings and feel detached emotionally.

    These can affect your relationships as others would not be able to understand what is going on with you. There will be an internal conflict too, a series of self-doubt which you can only tackle through self-care and love.

    The Full Moon is also related to the New Moon that happened on 5th April. Your goals will get harvested during this time. Adjust yourself accordingly so that you can absorb the new energy.

    Sunstone

    We all need a bit of support when there is a Full Moon. Now, with the double energy of the Full Moon, you will need a lot more. Sunstone is the crystal meant for you. It is a crystal that provides you inspiration.

    If you are stuck and want to get out of it, then the sunstone will help you push through. It is the light that breaks through the cloudy skies. Sunstone will rid you of your pessimistic perspective and push you forward.

    That’s why the Sunstone is also called the Stone of Leadership. It is related to personal power and brings expansion in our consciousness. It reflects the qualities of light and brings warmth and mental clarity. It’s the best crystal for the Double Full Moon.

    Infuse yourself with the energy of this Full Moon and stabilize your relationships with others. Best of luck!
    April 19th is also Bicycle Day.
    Gene Ching
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  12. #27
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    Full Flower Blue Moon

    RARE BLUE MOON 2019: MAY'S FULL FLOWER MOON SET TO APPEAR—WHEN IS IT AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
    BY HANNAH OSBORNE ON 5/14/19 AT 6:57 AM EDT

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    TECH & SCIENCE

    On May 18, a full moon will appear in the night sky. This year, May’s full moon, known as the "full flower moon," will also be—according to one definition—a “blue moon”—a celestial event that happens once every two to three years.

    But what is a blue moon? And will May’s full moon be one? There are two definitions of what a blue moon is. Under one, the full flower moon is not a blue moon. Under the other it is.

    Neither involves the moon actually turning blue.

    We tend to think of full moons occurring once per month. Each month’s full moon is also given a traditional name depending on what was happening at that time of year. For example, May’s full flower moon is named so because it is the time of year when flowers come into bloom, according to the Farmers' Almanac. Next month’s full moon is known as the full strawberry moon because June is the time when strawberries are harvested.

    However, sometimes one month has two full moons. This is because the phases of the moon take 29.5 days to complete. This means that there are 354 days for 12 full cycles, so once every two to three years, there is a 13th full moon. Because this moon does not fit into the traditional moon name system of old, it is known as a blue moon.

    This is one definition of a blue moon—and one that is technically incorrect.

    The other definition is the third full moon in an astronomical season that contains four full moons. Astronomical seasons start and end with spring and fall equinoxes and summer and winter solstices. The spring equinox 2019 started on March 20. This year the spring astronomical season contains four full moons, with May’s full flower moon being the third—hence being a blue moon.

    As well as the full moon, May 18 will see a number of other astronomical bodies appearing in the sky. “By the morning of the full moon on May 18, 2019, as morning twilight begins, Jupiter will appear in the south-southwest about 23 degrees above the horizon and Saturn will appear in the south about 30 degrees above the horizon,” NASA said in a statement. “Venus will be rising about 7 minutes after morning twilight begins but should be visible low in the east-northeast until about 30 minutes before sunrise. Mercury will not be visible, lost in the glow of the Sun.”

    May 18 will also see a Near Earth Object called 2012 KT12 make its close approach. The object, which measures between 48 and 107 feet in size, is set to pass Earth at 1.0 and 7.5 lunar distances, and will be traveling at a speed of 8,835 mph, NASA said. A lunar distance is the moon's average distance from Earth.

    The next full moon will take place on June 17, at the end of the spring astronomical season. The next season will start on June 21 with the summer solstice.


    File photo showing a full moon
    ISTOCK
    Well, you learn something every day. And here I thought I knew more about moon trivia than most.
    Gene Ching
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  13. #28
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    Black Moon

    Again, I thought I knew my moons, but this is a new term for me.

    However, the photo isn't a black moon. A black moon isn't visible. That's a rogue's moon - enough light to see but not to be seen.

    SUNSET LIFESTYLE
    Don’t Miss Tomorrow’s Black Moon—You Won’t See Another One Until 2022



    Creative Commons photo by John Maarschalk is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    You’ve heard of a blue moon. Now get ready for a black moon—there’s one coming up the night of July 31

    NICOLE CLAUSING
    – July 30, 2019

    A black moon isn’t as apocalyptic as it sounds. It’s simply the term for the second new moon in a month, and it’s just as unusual as the phenomenon we’ve come to call a blue moon (the second full moon in a month). Both occur about every two and a half years, although they’re not always evenly spaced. The last black moon was in September of 2016, and the next one will happen January 31, 2022.

    So what will you see? Well, as far as the moon goes, not a whole lot. A new moon is the opposite of a full moon—the whole disk is in darkness and more or less invisible to us—although because of a phenomenon called earthshine, the disk may be faintly illuminated. Earthshine or no, the new moon also always appears close to the sun, so it will be heading for the Western horizon at sunset on the evening of the 31st. It’s cool to say you were out the night of a black moon—but it won’t be a visually striking event.

    That’s not all bad news for sky watchers, though. No moonlight means very dark skies, which means that objects that shine less brightly can be seen more easily. Even without visual aid, you can get some of the best views of the summer of Jupiter and Saturn, both rising in the southeast at about the time the sun is going down. (And if you have even a small telescope, you’ll get a spectacular view of Saturn’s rings.) Summer is a good time generally for meteor showers, and two minor ones—the Southern delta Aquariids and alpha Capricornids—are peaking this week, and a major one, the Perseids, is just getting going. The dark skies will make more shooting stars visible than on a moonlit night. July is also a good time to see the Milky Way as it’s fairly high in the sky at night now, and low light helps with visibility there, too.
    Gene Ching
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  14. #29
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    Orange Hunter


    OCTOBER FULL MOON 2019: ENORMOUS, ORANGE FULL HUNTER'S MOON TO APPEAR IN NIGHT SKY

    BY ARISTOS GEORGIOU ON 10/8/19 AT 5:00 AM EDT

    This October, a bright orange Full Hunter's Moon will appear in the night sky.

    Full moons occur roughly every once a month when the Earth is positioned directly between the sun and the moon. In these instances, it is fully illuminated, appearing like a perfect circle.

    The October full moon will reach its peak on Sunday, October 13, at 5:08 p.m. EDT, although it will appear full to the naked eye for about a day on either side of this date, according to The Old Farmer's Almanac.

    The moon will only be really visible after sunset, however, and it will set close to sunrise the next day. (On that date, sunset in New York, for example, occurs at around 6:20 p.m.) In fact, the night of October 13 and 14 is the only one of the month in which the moon will remain in the sky from sunrise to sunset.

    This Full Hunter's Moon is particularly intriguing because it may appear larger and more orange than a normal full moon due to the fact that it rises around sunset.

    This trick of the eyes, known as the "moon illusion," makes the moon appear larger near the horizon than when it's positioned higher in the sky.

    "When the moon is high overhead, it is dwarfed by the vast hemisphere of the heavens and appears to our eyes as a small disk in the sky," Bob Berman, an astronomer for the Farmer's Almanac, wrote.

    "By contrast, when the moon is low, it is viewed in relation to earthly objects, such as chimneys or trees, whose size and shape provide scale," he said. "Your brain compares the size of the moon to the trees, buildings or other reference points, and suddenly, the moon looks massive!"

    The reason that it appears more orange nearer the horizon is due to the effect of the Earth's atmosphere, according to Berman.

    "When the moon is low in the sky, it is ****her away from you than when it is directly overhead," he wrote. "Because of this, the light that's being reflected off of a horizon-hugging moon has to travel a ****her distance—and through more particles of air—to reach your eyes.

    "By the time we perceive this light, the shorter wavelengths of light, the 'blue' ones, have been scattered by the air, leaving only the longer wavelengths, the 'red' ones, to reach our eyes," he said. "Thus, to us, the bluish hues are filtered out, and the moon takes on an orange tinge!"

    On the other hand, when the moon is directly overhead, the light does not have to travel through as many air particles to reach us because the moon is closer, thus it is scattered less. This enables more of the blue wavelengths to reach our eyes, lending the moon a brighter, less orangey color.

    Unlike most other full moon names, the term "Hunter's Moon" is not tied to a specific month. In fact, Hunter's Moon is the name given to whichever full moon comes after the Harvest Moon—or the one closest to the autumn equinox in the Northern Hemisphere.

    As result, the term "Hunter's Moon" can be used for full moons that fall both in October and November, depending on the year. This year, the Harvest Moon occurred on Friday, September 13, for those living in the Eastern time zone.

    The name of the Hunter's Moon is thought to come from Native American folklore. One explanation is that the period after the autumn harvest was a good time to go hunting in preparation for winter.


    One day after the Full Hunter's Moon, the moon rises behind lower Manhattan and One World Trade Center in New York City on October 25, 2018, as seen from Green Brook Township, New Jersey.
    GARY HERSHORN/GETTY IMAGES
    Perfect for October
    Gene Ching
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  15. #30
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    Last Cold Moon of the Decade

    Final full moon of the decade is on 12/12 at 12:12 a.m.
    NATIONAL
    by: KRON/WDAF
    Posted: Dec 10, 2019 / 04:38 PM PST / Updated: Dec 10, 2019 / 08:07 PM PST

    SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The last moon of the decade will become 100 percent full on Dec. 12 at 12:12 a.m., eastern time, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

    The Farmers' Almanac

    @FarmersAlmanac
    🌕Feeling superstitious?🤞Lucky? Here's why next week's full Moon may be significant for some... https://www.farmersalmanac.com/full-...er-2019-100914 …#thatsalotof12s#fullmoon


    Full Moon for December 2019 Arrives on 12/12 at 12:12 - What Does It Mean? - Farmers’ Almanac
    December's Cold Moon turns 100% full on 12/12 at 12:12 a.m. Eastern Time. That's a lot of 12s! Should those living in the Eastern Time Zone buy a lottery ticket? Or get married? We explain.

    farmersalmanac.com
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    5:58 AM - Dec 6, 2019
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    Unfortunately for the Bay Area, the full moon will arrive at 9:12 p.m. on Dec. 11.

    This month’s moon has several names, the Farmer’s Almanac said, including the Long Night’s Moon and the full Cold Moon.

    The last full moon of the year is traditionally associated with the bleakness of winter starting in December, according to KRON4 affiliate WDAF.

    Winter officially begins a week later at the solstice on Dec. 21.

    Appropriately, the “Long Night’s Moon” name originates from the more hours of darkness during the winter months.

    As far as the symbolism of Thursday’s moon — the almanac says the number 12 is “like a curtain call that allows you to get your affairs together so you can benefit from the windfall that the universe is about to bestow on you.”
    Auspicious for those of you on Eastern Time. For the rest of us, meh.
    Gene Ching
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