astronomy Newsletter


October 9 2016 Astronomy Newsletter

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Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Sputnik – The Space Race Begins
On October 4, 1957 a small object had people around the globe looking excitedly – or anxiously – up at the sky. It's so common now that people today could scarcely imagine the effect that the first artificial satellite had. Sputnik began the Cold War's space race.

*Rosetta: Mission Accomplished*
On Friday, September 30, Rosetta's mission ended with the spacecraft landing on the comet. Here is a short video that shows the last images Rosetta sent back of the comet: I particularly liked the one that looked like a goofy animal. If you watch it, be sure to glance at the distances shown on the left. You can see Rosetta getting closer and closer.


(1) October 4, 1957: Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, was launched.
(2) October 5, 1923: Edwin Hubble discovered Cepheid variable stars in M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. Cepheid variable stars, based on the work of Henrietta Leavitt, can be used as distance indicators. Hubble used them to show that M31 was too far away to be an object in our own Galaxy.
(3) October 5, 1963: the European Southern Observatory (ESO) was founded. ESO is 16-nation intergovernmental research organization for ground-based astronomy, with observing sites in Chile.
(4) October 8, 1873: Danish chemist and astronomer Ejnar Hertzsprung was born. His work, along with that of Henry Norris Russell, showed how stars evolve.
(5) October 9, 1604: Kepler's supernova (SN 1604) was first observed. It was brighter than any other star in the night sky, even visible during the day for a few weeks. Kepler didn't discover it but he observed it for a year and wrote a book about it.
(6) October 10, 1848: English astronomer William Lassell discovered Neptune's largest moon Triton.

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor

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