Aug 02, 2020
Annual Sturgis rally expecting 250K, stirring virus concerns
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Sturgis is on. The message has been broadcast across social media as South Dakota, which has seen an uptick in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, braces to host hundreds of thousands of bikers for the 80th edition of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
More than 250,000 people are expected to rumble through western South Dakota, seeking the freedom of cruising the boundless landscapes in a state that has skipped lockdowns.The Aug. 7 to 16 event, which could be the biggest anywhere so far during the pandemic, will offer businesses that depend on the rally a chance to make up for losses caused by the coronavirus. But for many in Sturgis, a city of about 7,000, the brimming bars and bacchanalia will not be welcome during a pandemic.
Though only about half the usual number of people are expected at this year’s event, residents were split as the city weighed its options. Many worried that the rally would cause an unmanageable outbreak of COVID-19.
“This is a huge, foolish mistake to make to host the rally this year,” Sturgis resident Lynelle Chapman told city counselors at a June meeting. “The government of Sturgis needs to care most for its citizens.”
In a survey of residents conducted by the city, more than 60% said the rally should be postponed. But businesses pressured the City Council to proceed.
Rallygoers have spent about $800 million in past years, according to the state Department of Tourism. Though the rally has an ignominious history of biker gangs and lawlessness, bikers of a different sort have shown up in recent years — affluent professionals who ride for recreation and come flush with cash. Though the rally still features libertine displays, it also offers charity events and tributes to the military and veterans.
The attorney for a tourism souvenir wholesaler in Rapid City wrote to the City Council reminding that a judge found the city does not solely own rights to the rally and threatening to sue if the city tried to postpone it. Meanwhile, the Buffalo Chip, which is the largest campground and concert venue that lies outside the bounds of the city, made clear that it would hold some version of the rally.
Rod Woodruff, who operates the Buffalo Chip, said he felt he had little choice but to proceed with the rally. He employs hundreds of people in August and a smaller full-time staff.
“We spend money for 355 days of the year without any return on it, hoping people show up for nine days,” he said. “We’re a nine-day business.”
Woodruff felt he could pull off a safe event, allowing people to keep their distance from one another at the outdoor concerts at his campground. He said he was emboldened by the July 3 fireworks celebration at Mount Rushmore, where 7,500 people gathered without any reported outbreaks after the event, according to health officials.
In the end, Sturgis officials realized the rally would happen whether they wanted it or not. They decided to try to scale it back, canceling city-hosted events and slashing advertising for the rally.
Jerry Cole, who directs the rally for the city, said organizers are not sure how many people will show up, but that they’re expecting at least 250,000. Travel restrictions from Canada and other countries have cut out a sizeable portion of potential visitors, he said.
Others think the rally could be the biggest yet.
“It’s the biggest single event that’s going on in the United States that didn’t get canceled,” Woodruff said. “A lot of people think it’s going to be bigger than ever.”
When the rally is over, every year the city weighs all the trash generated to estimate how many people showed up. This year, they will also conduct mass coronavirus testing to see if all those people brought the pandemic to Sturgis.
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News Source: wtop.com
NASA: Annual Perseid Meteor Shower Visible This Week; Multiple Opportunities To See Full Moon Summer Triangle Of Stars In August
(CBS DETROIT) – August 2020 brings multiple opportunities to see the Moon posing with other planets and meteors, according to NASA.
On Aug. 12, the annual Perseid meteor shower peaks in the morning. The last-quarter moon will interfere with visibility of most fainter Perseid meteors this year, but NASA says you’ll still be able to see a few brighter ones, including the occasional “fireball.”
The best time to look is in the pre-dawn hours on Aug. 12, but midnight to dawn any morning the week before or after should produce a few meteors.
In the hour before sunrise, look for Venus in the east on Aug. 15 just a couple of finger widths apart from the crescent Moon. NASA says if you take a look before the sky gets too bright, you’ll see the duo surrounded that morning by a ring of bright stars.
The phases of the Moon for August 2020. Credit: NASA/JPL-CaltechHere’s your daily guide from NASA:
On Wednesday morning, the planet Mercury will be just rising about 30 minutes before sunrise, an approximation of when it will start being too close to dawn to see in the morning. Mercury will pass on the far side of the Sun as seen from the Earth five days later.
On Wednesday, the planet Venus will appear at its greatest separation from the Sun as seen from the Earth in the morning sky, called its greatest western elongation. Because the angle of the line between the Sun and Venus and the horizon is becoming more perpendicular, the date when Venus and the Sun appear farthest apart as seen from the Earth is not the same as when Venus is highest above the horizon as morning twilight begins. This occurs in early September.
On Thursday morning, the bright star Aldebaran will appear about 4 degrees below the waning crescent Moon. For the Washington, DC area, Aldebaran will rise below the Moon in the east-northeast at 1:18 a.m. EDT, and will be to the lower right of the Moon in the east-southeast as morning twilight begins around 5:17 a.m.
On Saturday morning, the bright planet Venus will appear below the waning crescent Moon. For the Washington, DC area, Venus will rise about 4 degrees below the Moon in the east-northeast at 2:50 a.m. EDT, and the pair will appear about 30 degrees above the horizon in the east as morning twilight begins around 5:19 a.m.
On Sunday morning, the bright star Pollux (the brighter of the twins in the constellation Gemini) will appear about 8 degrees to the left of the waning crescent Moon. For the Washington, DC area, Pollux will rise in the northeast at 3:29 a.m. EDT and the pair will appear about 20 degrees above the horizon in the east-northeast as morning twilight begins at 5:20 a.m.
On Monday morning, the planet Mercury will pass on the far side of the Sun as seen from the Earth, called superior conjunction. Because Mercury orbits inside of the orbit of Earth, it will be shifting from the morning sky to the evening sky and will begin emerging from the glow of the dusk on the western horizon around August 29, 2020 (depending upon viewing conditions).
August 18: “Black Moon”
Tuesday evening, at 10:41 p.m. EDT, will be the new Moon, when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun and will not be visible from the Earth. This will be the third new Moon in a season with four new Moons, so (following the analogy for naming Blue Moons) some now call this a “Black Moon.”
The day of or the day after the New Moon typically marks the start of the new month for most lunisolar calendars. The seventh month of the Chinese calendar starts on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 (at midnight in China’s time zone, which is 12 hours ahead of EDT). In the Islamic calendar the months traditionally start with the first sighting of the waxing crescent Moon after the New Moon, although many Muslim communities now follow the Umm al-Qura Calendar of Saudi Arabia, which uses astronomical calculations to start months in a more predictable way. Sunset on Wednesday, August 19, 2020, will probably mark the beginning of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic year, one of the four sacred months in which warfare is forbidden. Sundown on Thursday, July 20, 2020, marks the start of Elul in the Hebrew calendar.
On Friday morning at 6:58 a.m. EDT, the Moon will be at perigee, its closest to the Earth for this orbit.
The 10-day celebration of Onam in Kerala, India, will begin on Saturday, August 22, and end on the day of the next full Moon on September 2, 2020.
On Saturday evening, the bright star appearing to the lower left of the waxing crescent Moon will be Spica. For the Washington, DC area, as evening twilight ends at 8:54 p.m. EDT, the Moon will appear in the west-southwest at about 15 degrees above the horizon. Spica will set first at about 9:52 p.m.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Moon will appear half-full as it reaches its first quarter at 1:58 p.m. EDT.
There are approximately 7 days between each phase of the Moon, so the first quarter Moon tends to occur on the 7th day of a lunisolar month. Tuesday, August 25, 2020, will be the seventh day of the seventh month of the Chinese calendar. The seventh night of the seventh month is known as the double seventh festival, Qixi in China, Chilseok in Korea, Thất Tịch in Vietnam, and is sometimes called the Chinese Valentine’s Day. There are many variations on the legend, but basically, they involve the three bright stars we know as the “Summer Triangle” and the Milky Way. Vega represents the weaver girl and the bright star Altair represents the cowherd. They fall in love and neglect their duties, so the Goddess of Heaven puts a wide river in the sky, represented by the Milky Way, to keep them apart. They are allowed to meet only one night a year, on the seventh night of the seventh month, when the bright star Deneb forms a bridge across the Milky Way. In some versions of the legend, the bridge is formed by magpies, so this is sometimes called the Magpie Festival. The Japanese Tanabata or Star Festival is related, but is no longer tied to the lunisolar date (it is now celebrated on July 7, the double seventh of the Gregorian Calendar).
On Tuesday night, August 25, 2020, the bright star Antares will appear to the lower left of the waxing half-moon. For the Washington, DC area, as evening twilight ends at 8:49 p.m. EDT, the Moon will appear in the south-southwest about 26 degrees above the horizon, and Antares will set first in the southwest at 11:48 p.m.
August 28-September 2
On Friday night into Saturday morning, the bright planet Jupiter will appear near the waxing gibbous Moon, with the fainter planet Saturn appearing nearby. As evening twilight ends (at 8:44 p.m. EDT for the Washington, DC area) the Moon will appear in the south-southeast about 24 degrees above the horizon, with Jupiter appearing about 2 degrees above the Moon and Saturn appearing about 9 degrees to the left. The Moon will reach its highest in the sky for the night at 9:55 p.m., appearing in the south about 26 degrees above the horizon. Jupiter and the Moon will set together in the west-southwest Saturday morning at 2:38 a.m., with Jupiter on the right and Saturn above the Moon.
Saturday evening will be (for the Washington, DC area, at least) the first evening when Mercury will still be above the horizon about 30 minutes after sunset, an approximation of when it will start being visible in the evening sky after sunset.
Saturday evening into Sunday morning, the planet Saturn will appear near the waxing gibbous Moon, with the brighter planet Jupiter also appearing nearby. For the Washington, DC area, as evening twilight ends at 8:42 PM EDT, the Moon will appear in the south-southeast about 21 degrees above the horizon, with Saturn appearing to the upper right of the Moon and Jupiter appearing farther to the right. The Moon will reach its highest in the sky for the night at 10:49 PM and Jupiter will set first in the west-southwest Sunday morning at 2:34 AM.
The full Moon after next will be early on Wednesday morning, September 2, 2020.
For more information on skywatching tips from NASA, visit here.
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