astronomy Newsletter


November 12 2018 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Lagoon Nebula (M8)
Barely visible to the unaided eye, Messier 8 (M8) – the Lagoon Nebula – lies about five thousand light years away in the constellation Sagittarius. It's over a hundred light years across, an enormous turbulent stellar nursery.

*Birth anniversaries*
November is a great month for astro-birthdays.

(1) November 1, 1919: Anglo-Austrian mathematician and cosmologist Hermann Bondi. Bondi was a distinguished academic, Fellow of the Royal Society, and among many positions outside academia, he served as Director-General of the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO) (1967–1971) (which later became the European Space Agency, ESA)
(2) November 2, 1885: American astronomer Harlow Shapley. Director of the Harvard College Observatory for thirty years, he was best known for his studies of the Milky Way.
(3) November 8, 1656: Edmond Halley, one of the greatest minds of his era. The Englishman made contributions to many fields, but today is mainly known for the comet which bears his name, after he correctly predicted its return.
(4) November 9, 1934: American astronomer Carl Sagan. He was also noted as a science writer and communicator, and still remembered for his television series Cosmos.
(5) November 11, 1875: American astronomer Vesto Slipher. Director of the Lowell Observatory in Arizona, and the first to discover the redshift of galaxies when he measured their velocities - this laid the foundation for Hubble's later work.
(6) November 15, 1738: William Herschel, born in Hannover, but later a naturalized Englishman. He was the first person in history to discover a new planet (Uranus). Working in partnership with his sister Caroline, he helped to lay the foundations of modern astronomy.

*Space missions*
There are also anniversaries for three historic space missions.
(1) November 3, 1957: The Soviet Union's Sputnik 2 carried the first earthling into space. Sadly, it was the dog Laika who – as we learned many years later – was never intended to return to Earth.
(2) November 12, 2014: ESA's Rosetta mission to a comet has been one of the most amazing and exciting missions ever, and on this date its Philae probe became the first spacecraft to land on a comet.
(3) November 13, 1971: NASA's Mariner 9 went into orbit around Mars, the first spacecraft to orbit another planet.

Please visit for even more great content about Astronomy. 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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