astronomy Newsletter


February 18 2015 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

ABC of Astronomy – A Is for Astronomy
In the ABC of astronomy, astronomy itself is the first and most important item. What is astronomy and how does it differ from astrology? What are the main specialist areas in astronomy and how do they contribute to the overall picture?

*Watch out for space rocks!*
February 15 was the second anniversary of the fireball exploding over Chelyabinsk in Russia. The shockwave caused considerable damage and many people were injured, mainly from flying glass. The meteor which caused the damage arrived at Earth undetected until it entered the atmosphere and broke up. The anniversary is a good time to ask what governments are doing to increase the early detection rate and how plans are going for avoiding large impacts.

*Pluto discovered 85 years ago*
Pluto was discovered on February 18, 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory. You can read about the discovery here: Tombaugh used a blink comparator to help in the search. This devise compares two photographs taken a number of days apart by "blinking" back and forth between them so highlight anything that has moved. Here is Tombaugh using the device: And here are the two photographic plates which were key to Pluto's discovery:

*Copernicus – birth anniversary*
Copernicus was born on January 19, 1473. His idea of a Sun-centered system wasn't new and even his reasoned investigation into it didn't make a big stir at the time. But his book "De revolutionibus" was one of the important events that led to our viewing the cosmos in a brand new way. Considering how important we consider his work today, it's surprising that for several hundred years no one knew where he was buried. To find out more about his life and see how his final resting place was finally found only ten years ago, see:

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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