astronomy Newsletter


January 23 2013 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Solar System - Tour for Kids
Take a quick tour of the Solar System, the star system where we live. It's our neighborhood of the Milky Way. Find out what lies between the Sun and the edge of the Oort Cloud.

*Last signal from Pioneer 10*

Yesterday, January 22, was the tenth anniversary of the last message from Pioneer 10. The probe lived up to its name, for it was a true pioneer. It was the first spacecraft to cross the asteroid belt, the first to complete a mission to Jupiter and the first to send back information about the distant regions of the Solar System. It's now ten billion miles away from the Sun – a ray of sunlight takes nearly fifteen hours to reach it.

*The Saga of an Astronomer's Hat*

Rob McNaught has discovered fifty comets, including the Great Comet of 2007 which blazed in southern hemisphere skies, much to the envy of those of us living north of the equator. He lives in Australia, not far from Siding Springs Observatory. McNaught was one of those unfortunates who lost their homes. He escaped the raging bushfire, alerted only by fire service helicopters overhead. The family escaped with their lives and their dogs – everything else was destroyed. But this is a very upbeat story which I enjoyed reading, though I'm sorry for all the people who've lost their homes, and for all of the animals that were trapped in the fires.

*The Galactic Center as you've never seen it before*

Follow the link to see an incredible picture of the center of the Milky Way. It's a mosaic of over a thousand pictures acquired from 200 hours of exposure. Its detail is mind-boggling – there are a *billion* pixels here. You can zoom in and see that the milky patches are vast numbers of individual stars, and you can pan across the image. The credit goes to the superb astrophographer Stéphane Guisard of the European Southern Observatory. It's part of the GigaGalaxy Zoom project.

For a variety of astronomy images, follow me on Pinterest at:

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I hope to hear from you sometime soon, either in the forum or in response to this email message. I welcome your feedback!

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans,
Astronomy Editor

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