astronomy Newsletter


February 2 2011 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody!

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Bode and Bode's Law
Johann Elert Bode, the author of the greatest star atlas of the Golden Age of star atlases, is better known today for Bode's Law. Strangely, Bode's Law is neither a law nor original to Bode. So what was it? How did it inspire the Celestial Police? How did Neptune ruin it all?

*NASA mourns*

As if two tragedies in commemorated in January weren't enough, the first of February is the anniversary of the loss of the space shuttle Columbia. A NASA site is a tribute to all of them.

Seven craters on the Moon have been named for those who died on Challenger. They are located within a large impact basin called Apollo.

*Clyde Tombaugh*

Friday, February 4th is the anniversary of Clyde Tombaugh's birth. Born in 1906, he was the American astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930. Tombaugh methodically took pictures of the sky and then from the same position took more several days afterwards, so that he had at least two pictures of every region. Using a “blink comparator,” he compared a pair of images. This “blinked” rapidly between the two images so that anything that had moved would stand out. It was still a pretty difficult job. Here are the two plates containing Pluto.

*Astrofest 2011*

European Astrofest – sponsored by Astronomy Now magazine – is on in London Friday and Saturday February 4-5. Here's all the information: If you look closely at the picture, you can see me in the front row (next to the two empty seats).

That's all for this now.  Wishing you clear skies.

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Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor


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