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Wednesday, October 07, 2009 

Backyard Amateur Astronomers Will Be Able To See NASA Satellite Crash On Moon Friday Morning

"When a rocket booster slams into the moon early Friday morning, followed four minutes later by a space probe sniffing for signs of water, NASA and some of the world's biggest telescopes won't be the only ones watching the show.

The resulting plume of debris rising above the south pole of the moon from the first impact should create an eye-catching event on Earth, one visible to anyone west of the Mississippi with a telescope that has a diameter larger than 10 to 12 inches.

And this time, that backyard telescope just might have a scientific contribution to make.

At NASA's Ames Research Center, where the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) mission is being controlled, well over 1,000 people are expected to show up at Moffett Field, many camping overnight, to catch the scheduled 4:30 a.m. impact. Moonwalking Apollo 16 astronaut Charles Duke will speak Thursday evening, and starting at 3:30 a.m. Friday, the public is welcome at Ames to watch the LCROSS impact by a TV hook-up."

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