July 27 2011 Astronomy Newsletter
Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at BellaOnline.com.
The Kuiper Belt
Pluto was once the last outpost of the Solar System. Now we realize that it's the gateway to the Kuiper Belt, a disk made up of rubble left over from the formation of the Solar System. The Kuiper Belt is big and it's cold and the Sun would just look like a bright star from there.
*New moon discovered orbiting Pluto*
Last Wednesday (2011-07-20) the Hubble Space Telescope people announced the discovery of a new moon for Pluto, bringing the number up to 4. It’s been nicknamed P4, but hasn’t been named yet. The new moon is very small, somewhere between 13-34 km (7-21 miles) and its orbit is between those of Nix and Hydra. It’s amazing that the telescope was able to resolve such a small object from over 5 billion km (3 billion miles) away. The team was studying it as part of the preparation for the New Horizons mission, currently on its way to the Kuiper Belt.
Here are composite exposures from two different days: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/1107/PlutoP4_hst.jpg
On July 25, 1984 Svetlana Yevgenyevna Savitskaya was the second female cosmonaut in space and the first to carry out a space walk. Unfortunately, for women in the Soviet space program, she was also the last. Savitskaya was a test pilot and record-breaking sports pilot.
That's all for now. Wishing you clear skies.
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