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Astronomy – Why?
Astronomy is an ancient science, and today a popular profession and pastime. But what attracts people to astronomy? What's special about it? Here are some answers to this question in the words of astronomers.
(1) On July 28, 1851 the first successful photograph of a solar eclipse was taken. The photographer was Johann Julius Friedrich Berkowski, and he took the daguerrotype at the Royal Observatory in Koningsberg, Prussia (now Kalingrad, Russia).
(2) On August 3, 2004 the MESSENGER mission was launched to Mercury. It went into orbit around Mercury in March 2011 and completed the primary mission the following year. Given two extensions, it lasted until 2015 when it crashed to the surface of the planet.
*Happy Birthday, Maria Mitchell*
American astronomer Maria Mitchell was born on August 1, 1818. She was the second woman to be credited with the discovery of a comet, and was awarded a gold medal from the King of Denmark for it. She went on to become the first female college professor in the USA as professor of astronomy at Vassar College in New York. More about Maria Mitchell: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art181435.asp
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I wish you clear skies.
Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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