astronomy Newsletter


November 14 2016 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Scutum the Shield
Vienna, September 1683. For two months the city had been besieged by an army of the Ottoman Empire, and couldn't hold out much longer. But what does this have to do with astronomy? The link is the constellation Scutum (the Shield).

And here's the previous article. I was traveling and in the excitement didn't get the newsletter written.

Black Moon – Is That a Thing?
Followers of social media may know what a “black moon” is. It has been linked to dramatic predictions of doom and gloom. However it's not an astronomical term. So what is a black moon and would we survive it?

*Anniversaries – spacecraft*

(1) November 5, 2013: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched its first interplanetary mission, the Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), also called Mangalyaan (“Mars-craft”, from Sanskrit).
(2) November 7, 1996: NASA launched the Mars Global Surveyor, a global mapping mission that surveyed the atmosphere and the surface of Mars.
(3) November 13, 1971: NASA's Mariner 9 became the first spacecraft to orbit another planet. Three previous missions, Mariners 4, 6 and 7, had made fly-bys of Mars.

*Birthdays galore*

(1) November 8, 1656: Edmond Halley. He was one of the greatest minds of his era and is still known today for the comet which bears his name after he correctly predicted its return.
(2) November 9, 1934: Carl Sagan. Astronomer, science writer and communicator, humanitarian, still sadly missed.
(3) November 11, 1875: Vesto Slipher. He was an American astronomer and director of the Lowell Observatory in Arizona. His name isn't well known to the general public, but his work was the foundation for some of Edwin Hubble's later work.
(4) November 15, 1738: William Herschel. He was the first person ever to discover a new planet. In partnership with his sister Caroline, he laid the foundations for modern astronomy.

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor

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