astronomy Newsletter


March 10 2016 Astronomy Newsletter

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Vesta Facts for Kids
NASA's Dawn mission spent 14 months orbiting the asteroid Vesta. Vesta's an unusual object too small to be a dwarf planet. Yet it has the Solar System's tallest mountain and canyons comparable to Earth's Grand Canyon. It may also be the key to understanding the early Solar System.

March 7, 1792: John Herschel was born. Sir John Herschel, son of the discoverer of Uranus, was a superb mathematician and astronomer, as well as a pioneer in photography, a talented artist and musician, translator and poet.

March 7, 1837: Henry Draper was born. He was a pioneer of astrophotography. Following his early death, his wife Anna donated money to Harvard College Observatory to complete his catalogue of stellar spectra. If you see a deep sky object named with an “HD” prefix, it refers to this catalogue.

March 8, 1979: active volcanoes were found on Jupiter's moon Io. Voyager 1 took the pictures that showed eruptions on Io, the first ones ever discovered on a body other than Earth.

March 9, 1564: David Fabricius was born. Along with his son Johannes, David Fabricius discovered Mira, the first known periodic variable star. They also made the first confirmed observations of sunspots.

March 10, 2006: NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter arrived at Mars.

March 11, 1911: Urbain Le Verrier was born. He calculated the position of an unknown planet that was disturbing the orbit of Uranus. This is how Neptune was discovered.

March 13, 1781: William Herschel discovered Uranus. It was the first planet ever to be discovered – the other known planets were naked eye objects that had been observed for thousands of years.

March 13, 1855: Percival Lowell was born. He founded Lowell Observatory where Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto.

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Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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