November 7 2013 Astronomy Newsletter
Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at BellaOnline.com.
Voyagers – the Golden Record
The Voyagers are on a mission that will eventually take them to the stars. They are both carrying a message from Earth. What images, sounds and music were chosen to represent the people of Earth?
*Remembering Carl Sagan*
Carl Sagan, astronomer, and science enthusiast and communicator, was instrumental in creating the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record. Saturday, November 9, is the 79th anniversary of Carl Sagan's birth. He left such a tremendous legacy that it's difficult to believe that he's been gone nearly seventeen years. People are still responding to his television series “Cosmos” and recorded lectures that are available online. His books remain interesting and continue to challenge us to work for a better world.
Halley didn't discover a comet, but he did research and published papers in astronomy and many other fields. Russian Czar Peter the Great liked him as a dining and drinking companion, and King William III put this civilian in charge of a Royal Navy ship.
Tomorrow – Friday, November 8 – is the 457th anniversary of the Halley's birth. Halley was *not*, by the way, the discoverer of the comet that bears his name. There are records of the appearance of this comet going back over two thousand years. What Halley did was understand that what seemed like a number of comets was one periodic comet that returned about every 75 years.
Although today Halley is popularly known only for the comet, he was almost the most brilliant scientific mind of his generation. I say “almost,” because Isaac Newton was his contemporary. However some of their work was complementary. It was Newton's theory of gravitation that allowed Halley to calculate the orbits of comets and predict the return of the one named for him. In turn, Halley's success was support for Newton's theoretical work.
You can also read about Halley's Comet here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art44795.asp
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I wish you clear skies.
Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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