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Crux – the Southern Cross
Crux is the smallest of the 88 constellations, but it punches above its weight. As Polaris does in the northern hemisphere, in the southern hemisphere the Southern Cross serves as a navigation aid. It's part of the flags of five nations, and its stars also feature widely in traditional lore.
*Birth Anniversaries in October*
(1) 1882 (5th): Robert Goddard – American engineer, professor, physicist, and inventor, credited with creating and building the world's first liquid-fueled rocket. Although he received little public support in his lifetime, he's now considered one of the founding fathers of modern rocketry.
(2) 1885 (7th): Niels Bohr – Danish physicist who made foundational contributions to understanding atomic structure and quantum theory, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922.
(3) 1873 (8th): Ejnar Hertzsprung – Danish chemist and astronomer.
(4) 1887 (25th): Henry Norris Russell – one of the major figures of early 20th century astronomy.
Independently, Hertzsprung and Russell developed what's now known as the Hertzsprung-Russell (H-R) diagram, a scatter plot of stars that related their absolute magnitudes to their effective temperatures, demonstrating stellar evolution.
(5) 1829 (15th): Asaph Hall – American astronomer best known for his discovery of the two moons of Mars.
(6) 1956 (17th): Mae Jemison – NASA astronaut and the first African American woman in space, also known as an engineer, physician, university professor and businesswoman.
(7) 1910 (19th): Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar – Indian-American astrophysicist and Nobel laureate known for his work on stellar evolution.
(8) 1905 (22nd): Karl Jansky – American physicist and radio engineer who first discovered radio waves emanating from the Milky Way. He's considered one of the founding figures of radio astronomy.
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Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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