New Yorkers Will Be Able to See a Lunar Explorer Launch on Friday


NASA’s LADEE–Lunar Atmospheric and Dust Environment Explorer–will launch from Virginia’s Eastern Shore Friday around 11:30 p.m., and much of the eastern seaboard will be able to see it. Minotaur V, a vessel on a 100-day mission to examine the Moon’s thin atmosphere, will coast through New York’s southern sky on its way into the outer atmosphere.

The images of Minotaur V‘s flight trajectory were rendered by scientist Carlos Niederstrasser using Google Earth. Below are images of the trajectory as seen from Battery Park and the Empire State Building.

Granted, the observation deck of the Empire State Building is probably too small for a citywide viewing party, and Battery Park isn’t such a convenient location, but these images do give a good benchmark for where in the sky you should look on Friday night (hint: south).

But for the savvy and the precision freaks, Niederstrasser prepared a Google Earth visualization package available for download with instructions here. Plot the launch and where you’ll likely be standing Friday night, and voilà!