Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at BellaOnline.com.
Merlin's Tour of the Universe Book Review
Does the Earth really wobble on its axis? How does the Sun make its heat? What would happen if I fell into a black hole? If you want to know the answers to these and many other questions, this book is a good collection of the things that people have asked "Merlin."
European Space Agency (ESA) probe Rosetta is about half way through its ten-year mission to take a probe to land on a comet. On July 10, it did a fly-by of asteroid Lutetia and photographed it. This has not only provided valuable information about the asteroid, but it has confirmed that Rosetta is still performing as it should.
It's really amazing that these intricate maneuvers were carried out from so far away, but also that it was streamed live, so we could all share the moment when Rosetta's signal returned after it flew by the asteroid. Wow!
I'm not the only one whose favorite picture is the one with Saturn in the background. Here is the picture and the Planetary Society blog will tell you more if you're interested: http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00002578/
The first international human space flight
35 years ago tomorrow (July 15 1975) a Soyuz craft was launched from the Soviet Union and an Apollo craft from the United States. Two days later they linked together in orbit and carried out a joint mission. It didn't end the Cold War, but it was a great step forward. It was certainly a different world to that of the International Space Station where astronauts of many nationalities work together.
Here is a contemporary news account of this great event:
And speaking of great events, some of the greatest ever are the Moon landings. It was 41 years ago Friday that Apollo 11 was launched. You may well remember all the publicity for last year's fortieth anniversary.
Watch out for Moon-related material next week.
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Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor