Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at BellaOnline.com.
Valentine's Day is no assurance that love is in the air. Hearts and flowers aren't guaranteed to come your way. You may or may not get one of the billion valentine cards that are sent each year. But heart shapes are everywhere and anyone can admire them. Here is a cosmic selection for everyone.
(1) February 5, 1963: astronomer Maarten Schmidt had a sudden insight that led to a new understanding of quasars, which had been a mystery. He realized that a quasar wasn't an object in our Galaxy, and its unusual spectrum wasn't full of unknown elements. It was mostly composed of hydrogen that was redshifted because of its enormous distance away in an expanding Universe. An introduction to quasars: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art42450.asp
(2) February 7,1999: Stardust was launched. Its primary mission was to collect dust samples from the coma of comet Wild 2, as well as samples of cosmic dust, and return them to Earth for analysis.
(3) February 8, 1826: Jules Verne was born. Verne was a major European literary figure, but best known in the English-speaking world for his exciting and influential adventure stories, many of which are considered early science fiction. Ray Bradbury said "We are all, in one way or another, the children of Jules Verne."
(4) February 11, 2010: The Solar Dynamics Observatory was launched. The SDO was designed to help us understand the Sun's influence on Earth and near-Earth space by monitoring the solar atmosphere.
(5) February 12, 2001: NASA's NEAR Shoemaker mission landed on the asteroid Eros. It was the first spacecraft to land on an asteroid.
Please visit http://astronomy.bellaonline.com/Site.asp for even more great content about Astronomy. I hope to hear from you sometime soon, either in the forum http://forums.bellaonline.com/ubbthreads.php/forums/323/1/Astronomy or in response to this email message. I welcome your feedback!
Do pass this message along to family and friends who might also be interested. Remember it's free and without obligation. I wish you clear skies.
Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor