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Hydra the Water Snake – Deep Sky Objects
It's not surprising to find plenty of deep-sky objects in such a big constellation as Hydra. Its varied objects include the Ghost of Jupiter, beautiful globules that are over twice the age of the Sun, and a dramatic grand design spiral galaxy known for its titanic explosions.
*Happy Birthday Isaac Asimov*
Isaac Asimov was born on January 2, 1920. He was a chemist by profession, but best known as a writer – both of science fiction and science fact, with a special interest in astronomy.
(1) Giuseppi Piazzi discovered Ceres on January 1, 1801. It was the first asteroid to be discovered, though it was assumed to be a new planet for a number of years until lots more of objects were discovered in similar orbits. Find out how the discovery related to “Bode's Law”: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art42694.asp
(2) On January 3, 2004 the rover Spirit landed on Mars for a mission of about three months. But her final transmission was over six years later and NASA formally ended the mission May 25, 2011. Her twin Opportunity is still at work. You can read more about Spirit here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art48902.asp
(3) The dwarf planet Eris was discovered on January 5, 2005. Since it appeared to be bigger than Pluto, it set off the big debate about what was a planet. It turns out to be a teensy bit smaller than Pluto and they're both considered dwarf planets. Here's more about Eris: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art301573.asp
*Happy New Year! My good wishes to you and family and friends for the year to come.*
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I wish you clear skies.
Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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