astronomy Newsletter


March 20 2016 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

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.

*Spring Equinox*

The northern hemisphere spring equinox is on March 19-20. The Sun crosses the celestial equator at 4.30 a.m. UTC on March 20. The equinox falls on the 20th for those in the USA on the Eastern seaboard - it will occur there at 12.30 EDT. In time zones to the west, the equinox will be on the 19th. In Europe and Asia, it's on the 20th.

The Vernal Equinox -
You've made it through the winter and watched the food stores diminish. But the days are getting longer and green shoots are appearing. Spring is on the way. The festivals of the vernal equinox emphasize rebirth and renewal. In many cultures the equinox is also the New Year.


March 14
1835: Giovanni Schiaparelli was born. He was an Italian astronomer who produced the most detailed map of Mars ever published. It became a standard reference in planetary cartography.

1879: Albert Einstein was born.

March 15, 1713: Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille was born. A French astronomer and one of the greats of his time, he surveyed nearly 10,000 stars in the southern hemisphere. He also invented fourteen new constellations still in use today. More about his life:  There are also two articles about his constellations - check out the links below the biographical article.

March 16, 1750: Caroline Herschel was born. She was a German-born astronomer who worked in England. As the first woman to be credited with the discovery of a comet, she went on to discover eight altogether. Herschel was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in Britain. More about her life:

*The first spacewalk*
March 18, 1965: Voskhod 2 was launched and Alexei Leonov made the first ever spacewalk. Leonov nearly didn't survive the spacewalk when his spacesuit inflated in the vacuum and he had to let the air out of it in order to get back into the spacecraft.

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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