astronomy Newsletter


February 5 2017 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Makemake - Facts for Kids
Mike Brown, Chad Trujillo and David Rabinowitz discovered an icy object out in the Kuiper Belt nearly five billion miles from the Sun. Three years later the International Astronomical Union (IAU) listed it as a dwarf planet, and named it Makemake.

*Happy Birthday, Clyde Tombaugh*
The discoverer of Pluto was born on February 4, 1906. He was working at Lowell Observatory in Arizona, scanning the skies for Perceval Lowell's “Planet X”, when he discovered what turned out to be the first known Kuiper Belt object. Some of Tombaugh's ashes are part of the New Horizons space probe that did the magnificent fly-by of the Plutonian system in 2015.


(1) On February 3, 1995 STS-63 Discovery was launched. It carried out the first rendezvous of the American Space Shuttle with the Soviet space station Mir. Discovery also had on board the first woman to pilot a space shuttle – this was Eileen Collins. Several years later she became the first woman shuttle commander.

(2) On February 4, 1966 the Soviet spacecraft Luna 9 landed on the Moon. This was not only the first successful soft landing on the Moon, but it also sent back the first pictures taken on the Moon's surface.

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Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor

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