National Aviation Day

August 18, 2016

August 19th is National Aviation Day, a yearly observance to celebrate the history and development of aviation. Another fun fact: the day is also Orville Wright’s birthday!

GPO makes available a wide range of Federal Government publications about flight.

First Flight: The Wright Brothers and the Invention of the Airplane

024-005-01212-5Twelve seconds in the air turned into over 100 years of aviation progress. In December 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright stuck their first—and the world’s first—successful flight in a heavier-than-air, mechanically controlled machine. The sibling inventors behind the defining technology of the last century are the subject of this National Park Service handbook. In his forward, astronaut and former U.S. Senator John Glenn defers to the duo as the “first astronauts. Their initial short flight opened our quest to reach beyond the world we know. They were the first test pilots.” A foolhardy flying machine became a phenomena of human achievement. The Wright Brothers made their home above the world and consequently changed the world.

Logbook of the Signal Corps No. 1: The United States Army’s First Airplane (eBook)

Indeed the Wright Bros. invention changed the world. And changed the U.S. Army. This book tells the story of a self-taught aviator and his Wright flyer responsible for the launch of military airpower. In 1909, the U.S. Army Signal Corps paid $30,000 to Orville and Wilbur for a custom-made aircraft designated “Signal Corps No. 1.” A plucky young lieutenant with no prior flying experience was elected its sole operator. “Take plenty of spare parts,” a commanding officer told 1st Lt. Benjamin D. Foulois, “and teach yourself to fly.” Through industrious trial and error and long-distance guidance from the Wright Brothers, Foulois learned to fly the Army’s very first airplane. Read this book and then go visit the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in DC. There you will find the original Signal Corps No. 1, a beautifully restored piece of Army aviation history.

The Combat Edge

708-051-00313-5This quarterly publication of the Air Force’s Air Combat Command features articles and stories about flight safety. As aviation technology evolves to enhance combat capability, so must risk mitigation. Thus, ACC’s safety magazine looks to “foster a culture where Airmen strive for zero mishaps.” Developing this sort of discipline keeps safety standards high so that top guns can continue to “Aim High … Fly-Fight-Win.”

The Air Almanac for the Year 2016 (eBook)

008-054-00245-5For millennia, navigators have been using the stars to chart their course. Aircraft rely on similar celestial navigation. The Air Almanac contains astronomical data produced by The U.S. Naval Observatory in collaboration Her Majesty’s Nautical Almanac Office in the U.K. Published annually since 1941, this cosmic directory tabulates statistics at 10-minute intervals to a precision of 1 arcminute. Predictions include Greenwich hour angles; lunar rise and set times; sky diagrams for each month; charts for moon visibility and star positions; and sunrise, sunset, and twilight tables.

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

 Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Blogger contributor Chelsea Milko is a Public Relations Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations Office.

 


It’s time for meteor watching!

July 16, 2015
Image source: nasa.gov

Image source: nasa.gov

Did you know there is a special a day set aside to watch meteors? Well, there is such a day, and although “Meteor Watch Day” (June 30th) has passed; it’s never too late to get out your blankets and hope for some clear skies! Technically, many meteorites enter the Earth’s atmosphere every single day and, to see them, all you need to do is find a dark sky away from city and suburban lights. There are quite a few dark sky parks in the United States for your meteor watching convenience, including Oracle State Park in Arizona and Death Valley National Park in California. Meteor Watch Day leads us into July and August, which are two of the greatest meteor watching months of the year. If you’d prefer to go outside only when you know for a fact that there will be meteors to see, there be will a Perseid meteor shower in August that will be the most viewable if you live in the Northern Hemisphere – this means if you live in the United States you’ll have an opportunity to view this spectacular light show!

Our vast knowledge of celestial events (like meteor showers) that occur in our universe is all thanks to space programs like NASA. Its most recent endeavor of space exploration was the unprecedented mission of the New Horizons spacecraft flyby of Pluto. The U.S. Government Bookstore offers many publications to give you more information on NASA, celestial events, and anything else you’d like to know about outer space.

008-054-00241-2Astronomical Phenomena for the Year 2017. This booklet, which is free in PDF format, is published by the U.S. Naval Observatory and Her Majesty’s Nautical Almanac. The informational booklet includes information such as: Dates for Solar equinoxes and solstices, phases of the Moon, dates for various planetary phenomena, visibility and magnitudes of the planets, the equation of time and declination of the Sun, sunrise/sunset times, and much more.

033-000-01367-1Commercial Orbital Transportation Services: A New Era in Spaceflight provides a history of the NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program executed by the Commercial Crew & Cargo Program Office from 2006 to 2013 at the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas. It discusses the elements and people that ultimately made the COTS model a success.

Project Apollo: The Tough DecisionsProject ApolloThe Tough Decisions_Page_001 details the history of the manned space program from September 1, 1960 to January 5, 1968. It touches on the events that led to the Apollo mission program, the mission that established the United States’ presence in space after it had been working so hard to catch up with the Soviet Union. The book includes the major individuals and decisions that contributed to the world’s first manned lunar landings.

033-000-01369-8A Researcher’s Guide to: International Space Station Earth Observations highlights the purpose of NASA’s Earth science program and explains why it’s important to develop a scientific understanding of Earth’s system. Readers will learn about NASA’s detailed research and long-term observations of Earth’s surface, biosphere, atmosphere, and oceans so that they can better predict climate, weather, and natural hazards.

Archaeology, Anthropology, and Interstellar Communication033-000-01368-0 Addressing a field that has been dominated by astronomers, physicists, engineers, and computer scientists, the contributors to this collection raise questions that may have been overlooked by physical scientists about the ease of establishing meaningful communication with an extraterrestrial intelligence. These scholars are grappling with some of the enormous challenges that will face humanity if an information-rich signal emanating from another world is detected. By drawing on issues at the core of contemporary archaeology and anthropology, we can be much better prepared for contact with an extraterrestrial civilization, should that day ever come.

GPO’s Federal Digital System also offers some interesting related resources:

Remember, on the next Meteor Day or any other summer night when the skies are clear, to take a few minutes for some star-gazing, and perhaps even make a wish!

HOW DO I OBTAIN THESE RESOURCES?

Shop Online Anytime: You can buy eBooks or print publications —with FREE Standard Shipping worldwide— from the U.S. Government Online Bookstore at http://bookstore.gpo.gov.

Shop our Retail Store: Buy a copy of any print editions from this collection at GPO’s retail bookstore at 710 North Capitol Street NW, Washington, DC 20401, open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., except Federal holidays, Call (202) 512-0132 for information or to arrange in-store pick-up.

Order by Phone: Call our Customer Contact Center Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5:30 pm Eastern (except US Federal holidays). From US and Canada, call toll-free 1.866.512.1800. DC or International customers call +1.202.512.1800.

Visit a Federal depository library: Search for U.S. Government publications in a nearby Federal depository library. You can find the records for most titles in GPO’s Catalog of U.S. Government Publications.

About the author: Tiffane Tingle is a Student Intern in GPO’s Library Services & Content Management.


Navigating by the Moon, Planets, and Stars

May 14, 2010

The Nautical Almanac is one of the longest-running publications in the Federal Government, dating back to 1852. It’s also one of the most distinctive-looking books I’ve ever seen.  The covers are orange and made of a stiff board-like material, and the cover graphics certainly look like they date back to 1852. Between those covers lie the complex mathematical tables that, “along with the chronometer, the sextant, a steady hand and a keen eye, are the resources needed to navigate by the stars.” Honestly, the contents mean less than nothing to a non-math person, but what images they conjure up for a history person! Old salts striding across a ship’s deck, sextant in hand, getting ready to round the Horn – well, you get the idea.

The Almanac is a unique example of a Government publication produced by two countries – the United States Naval Observatory (USNO) and Her Majesty’s Nautical Almanac Office (HNMAO). Also unique is that the U.S. part of the Almanac is in the public domain, but the British part is under Crown Copyright.

The Nautical Almanac is one of a number of almanacs published by the U.S. Naval Observatory: the Astronomical Almanac, the Air Almanac, and Astronomical Phenomena. Together, they provide a corpus of navigational knowledge that spans the centuries but is still the ultimate backup to the GPS technology of today.

I wonder if they’ll ever change those orange covers?


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