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The Moon - Quiz
The Moon has been the object of awe and fascination since our humanoid ancestors first looked up into the sky. Test your knowledge about Moon and maybe find out some interesting new facts about it.
(1) August 8, 1576: Tycho Brahe laid the cornerstone for Uraniborg (castle of the heavens). It was an observatory, a palace, a laboratory and a research institute. Scholars came from around Europe to research in astronomy and a number of other disciplines.
(2) August 10, 1990: NASA's Magellan mission went into orbit around Venus. Magellan carried out radar mapping of Venus and and made global maps of the planet's gravity field.
(3) August 12, 1877: Asaph Hall discovered Mars's moon Deimos.
(4) August 12, 2005: NASA launched the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter.
The Perseid shower comes from the debris of comet Swift-Tuttle. The debris forms a trail of particles, and it's affected by the planets, so in any give year it might be closer to us (outburst!) or farther away from Earth (disappointment). But a predicted outburst can be a disappointment too. It might not happen. Or you might miss it, as the timing is crucial - might happen during daylight where you are, or you might not be watching at the time. But you could be lucky this year.
Whatever happens, there are plenty of meteorites in this shower, and already if you're lying back tonight and enjoying a clear night sky, you might well see some. We're already into the debris stream. The numbers will keep increasing until the August 11-12 peak, and it won't end there. You can read more here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art27461.asp
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I wish you clear skies.
Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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