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Canis Major - the Greater Dog
In a sky full of gods, heroes and wronged women, there are also four dogs. We have Canis Minor and the two dogs of Canes Venatici, but Canis Major is definitely top dog. It's a prominent constellation that has represented a dog from early Greek times.
*Henrietta Swan Leavitt*
Henrietta Leavitt was born on July 4, 1868. She was an American astronomer whose greatest accomplishment was the discovery of the relationship between the period of pulsation and the intrinsic brightness of stars known as Cepheid variables. This understanding made it possible to calculate distances in the cosmos wherever the Cepheids could be observed.
July 4, 2005: NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft collided with Comet Tempel 1 in order to study the effects of such an impact on a comet.
July 6, 1687: Isaac Newton's Principia was published, one of the most important works in the history of science.
July 7, 2003: The Mars rover Opportunity was launched for a three-month mission. It's still there.
July 10, 1962: The first active communication satellite was launched. Telstar 1 allowed transatlantic transmission of TV signals. Telstar – Herald of the Modern Age: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art181153.asp
*Juno, Welcome to Jupiter!*
As planned, the Juno spacecraft, having broken two records on the way, was safely inserted into orbit on July 4th. Juno is the most distant solar-powered spacecraft, a record previously held by ESA's Rosetta. The second record is a speed record. The craft was already moving pretty fast, but when it went into Jupiter's gravity well it was further accelerated to a speed of 265,000 km/h (165,000 mph), making it the fast spacecraft ever.
To find out more about what Juno is expected to do: https://www.missionjuno.swri.edu/mission/
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Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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