August 18 2016 Astronomy Newsletter
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Charles Messier – Comet Ferret
The Crab Nebula is M1 and the Andromeda Galaxy is M31. Over a hundred deep-sky objects with "M" numbers are listed in Messier's Catalogue of Nebulae and Star Clusters. Charles Messier, 18th-century comet hunter, is known less today for his comets than for his catalog of things that aren't comets.
(1) August 18, 1877: - American astronomer Asaph Hall discovered Phobos while observing Mars at the US Naval Observatory. Mars's moon Phobos is, like the moon Deimos, tiny and irregular in shape, but it's seven times as massive as its companion. In Greek mythology Phobos (meaning "horror"
) is one of the two sons of the Greek god of war.
(2) August 19, 1982: Soyuz T-7 was launched. The crew included Svetlana Savitskaya, the second woman in space.
(3) August 20, 1977: Voyager 2 was launched. It went on to do a grand tour of the outer planets, visiting Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. You can read more here: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art182793.asp
(1) August 17, 1936: Margaret Hamilton was born. She was the director and supervisor of software programming for Apollo and Skylab misions.
(2) August 19, 1646: John Flamsteed was born. He was the first astronomer royal at the Royal Greenwich Observatory in England. His star atlas was one of the most authoritative ones available for over a century. You can read more here about the Royal Greenwich Observatory: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art31803.asp
(3) August 19, 1891: Milton Humason was born. He was an American astronomer whose observations of the redshifts of galaxies helped the work of Edwin Hubble and Allan Sandage.
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I wish you clear skies.
Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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