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Rocket, ‘Supermoon’ visible to NJ this weekend

 

Map of U.S. East Coast showing first-sight viewing times of the Orbital-2 launch. Credit: Orbital
Map of U.S. East Coast showing first-sight viewing times of the Orbital-2 launch. (Orbital)

The Orbital 2 rocket launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia may be visible in the sky over New Jersey on Sunday afternoon, one of two celestial events of the weekend.

Simulated view of Orbital-2′s launch path as seen from Battery Park in New York City
Simulated view of Orbital-2′s launch path as seen from Battery Park in New York City (Orbital)

Originally scheduled to launch on Saturday, weather conditions forced the launch of the Cygnus cargo spacecraft to be postponed until Sunday at 12:52 p.m.

Depending on cloud coverage, a NASA map shows the rocket will be visible to the naked eye in the southeastern sky south of Interstate 195 between 60-90 seconds after launch and 2 minutes after launch to the north of I-195.

The spacecraft will be loaded with 3,300 pounds of supplies for the International Space Station according to NASA. The payload also includes science experiments, provisions, spare parts and hardware.

A perigee moon also known as a supermoon rises behind figurines on a Chinese pavilion in Beijing, China,
A perigee moon also known as a supermoon rises behind figurines on a Chinese pavilion in Beijing, China,(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

The first of 3 consecutive “Supermoon” full moons will be visible on Saturday night in which the moon will appear 30% brighter than usual according to Space.com. The “Supermoon” happens when the moon is full on the same day as its perigee, the time at which the moon is closes to the earth explains CNN.

NASA tells Space.com  the moon can look nearly as bright the day before and the day after the actual full moon date.

The term is not favored by Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory, who tells CNN the brightness can differ because of clouds and haze. “However, if it gets people out and looking at the night sky and maybe hooks them into astronomy, then it’s a good thing,’ he told CNN.

The “Supermoon” will be visible again on August 10 and September 9.

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