December 31 2014 Astronomy Newsletter
Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at BellaOnline.com.
Top Ten Astronomy Stories 2014
What happened in the skies in 2014? Here's my top ten. Some hints: it takes in stories all the way from a tiny lander alone on a comet to a supercluster of galaxies 500 million light years across, perhaps another Earth, and an ocean on one of Saturn's moons.
*HAPPY NEW YEAR*
Best wishes to you all, your family and friends for a good 2015!
*Discovery of Ceres*
The first asteroid to be discovered was the largest one, Ceres. NASA's Dawn mission, having already visited the asteroid Vesta, is on its way to Ceres now. Sicilian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi discovered Ceres on the first day of the first month of the first year of a new millennium: January 1, 1801. You can find out more about this in “Bode and Bode's Law” http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art42694.asp or “Ceres Facts for Kids” http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art2172.asp.
*Discovery of Eris*
Eris was discovered on January 5, 2005. In common with Ceres, it was originally considered to be a planet. But as Ceres, Vesta and others eventually became asteroids, so Eris, Pluto and others became dwarf planets. You can read about Eris vs Pluto here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art56976.asp
*Name a crater on Mercury*
The MESSENGER spacecraft has been orbiting Mercury since 2011, and the mission is coming to an end this spring. The science team has asked the public for suggestions of names for five impact craters. They're already accepting entries and will continue to accept them until January 15, 2015 (23:59 UTC).
Craters on Mercury are named in honor of people who've made outstanding contributions to arts and humanities, e.g., writers, dancers, architects, painters, etc. There are also a number of other guidelines set by the International Astronomical Union. They say, “We are particularly interested in submissions that honor people from nations and cultural groups that are under-represented amongst the currently-named craters.” You can see the whole story here: http://namecraters.carnegiescience.edu/enter-now
Please visit astronomy.bellaonline.com for even more great content about Astronomy.
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I wish you clear skies.
Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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