astronomy Newsletter


November 21 2016 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Neptune's Little Moons
Neptune, named for the Roman sea god, is the last planet out from the Sun, lying at the inner boundary of the Kuiper Belt. It has fourteen known moons and they're a mixed bag. One of them - Triton - represents over 99% of the total mass of Neptune moons. Thirteen little moons share what's left.

*Happy Thanksgiving*

My good wishes to readers in the USA for Thanksgiving. And, of course, my hopes for everyone – wherever you are – that you'll have something to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving in Space
Many foods are associated with a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner. But what do you suppose would be on the menu for Thanksgiving in space? Would you have to squeeze turkey paste out of a tube and get gelatin-covered dessert cubes? No. Food has improved since the early days of space flight.

*Anniversaries - spacecraft*

(1) November 17, 1970: The Soviet mission Luna 17 landed on the Moon. The rover Lunokhod 1 was the first wheeled vehicle on the Moon.
(2) November 18, 1989: NASA's Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) was launched to study the cosmic microwave background radiation, radiation from the early Universe, a remnant of the Big Bang.
(3) November 18, 2013: NASA's MAVEN spacecraft was launched. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN Mission was an orbiter sent to study the Martian atmosphere. Its main goals included determining how the planet's atmosphere and water were lost.
(4) November 20, 1998: Zarya module was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on a Russian Proton Rocket. It was the first element of International Space Station. A much expanded space station is still operating with crews made up of astronauts from many nations.


(1) November 18, 1923: Alan Shepard. As one of the Mercury 7, he was one of NASA's first astronauts. He commanded the Apollo 14 Moon mission.
(2) November 19, 1956: Eileen Collins. Retired NASA astronaut and former military test pilot, she was the first woman to pilot a space shuttle and the first woman commander of a space shuttle.
(3) November 20, 1889: Edwin Hubble. His work showed that the Universe was much bigger than our own Galaxy and provided evidence for an expanding universe.

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor

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