astronomy Newsletter


October 21 2016 Astronomy Newsletter

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Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Orionids – Crumbs of Halley's Comet
The most famous comet is Halley's Comet. English astronomer Edmond Halley didn't discover it, but did discover that it came visiting every 75-76 years. If you can't wait until 2062 for the next visit, you can see the Orionid meteor shower which is created by debris from Halley's Comet.

*Schiaparelli *
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has imaged Schiaparelli's landing site, and it's almost certain that the lander crashed and was destroyed. The dark patch and white spot magnified on the right of the photograph are likely to be the impact site and parachute, respectively. ESA scientists have studied data that the probe transmitted before contact was lost. It looks like its descent systems were faulty, with the parachute detached too early and its retrorockets – to slow it down – not firing for long enough.

A sad outcome, but these things are always tricky.

(1) October 21, 1923: the first ever public planetarium show took place – it was in the Deutsches Museum in Munich in Germany.
(2) October 21, 2008: Chandraayan-1 was launched. This was India's first Moon mission and it was a success.
(3) October 22, 1905: American physicist Karl Jansky was born. He was one of the founding fathers of radio astronomy.
(4) October 24, 1851: English Astronomer William Lassell discovered Umbriel & Ariel, two of the moons of Uranus.
(5) October 25, 1671: Giovanni Cassini – NASA's Cassini mission is named for him - discovered Iapetus, one of Saturn's moons.
(6) October 25, 1877: American astronomer Henry Norris Russell was born. He was one of the major figures of early 20th century astronomy. He's best known for his development of the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram which demonstrates stellar evolution. (Danish astronomer Ejnar Hertzsprung independently made the same discovery.)

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor

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