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BellaOnline's Astronomy Editor

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June 2 2010 Astronomy Newsletter


Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at BellaOnline.com.

Uranus and Neptune Twin Planets
Uranus and Neptune are ice giants and twin planets. They are very similar in many ways, but they aren't identical twins. Uranus orbits lying down and Neptune is much warmer than it should be.

http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art39799.asp

Here is a picture of Uranus taken with the Hubble Space Telescope: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap971126.html And another one of Neptune: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap040626.html

By the way, it was on June 5, 1989 that Voyager 2 began its regular observations of Neptune.

A few other anniversaries this week:

On June 2, 2003, the European Space Agency (ESA) launched Mars Express. It's still in orbit and taking high resolution pictures of the Martian surface.

There is a geographical coordinate system for Mars and the Martian prime meridian (equivalent to Greenwich on Earth) goes through a feature named Meridiani Planum. This covers 8000 square kilometers (3000 square miles)--about the size of Vatnajakull, Iceland's largest glacier. In this picture, the dark area is probably volcanic ash.

http://download.esa.int/images/marsexpress/464-20100804-2097-6-co-01-MeridianiPlanum_H1.jpg

The European Space Agency itself had its thirty-firth birthday this week. It was formed on May 31, 1975. Currently, eighteen European Countries are members and it often cooperates on space missions with NASA and other space agencies.

On June 3 fifty-five years ago, the first spacewalk by an American astronaut occurred. They're now so frequent, it's hard to remember what a big occasion it was. Here is a picture of Edward White's historic spacewalk: http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap050604.html

Please visit astronomy.bellaonline.com for even more great content about Astronomy.

To participate in online discussions, this site has a community forum all about Astronomy located here -

http://forums.bellaonline.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=postlist&Board=323

I hope to hear from you sometime soon, either in the forum 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.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
http://astronomy.bellaonline.com


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