astronomy Newsletter


May 20 2012 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody!

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

The Transit of Venus - Book Review
In the north of England in the early 16th century, there was an amazing circle of astronomers. They were well ahead of their time and included the first two people ever to observe a transit of Venus. What ended this brief flowering? Peter Aughton tells the story.

*Earth & Sky 2012 photo contest winners*

Here is a montage of the winning pictures in the Earth & Sky landscape astrophotography competition, emphasizing the battle of the night sky against light pollution. Landscape astrophotography combines elements of both the land and the sky to good effect.

You can read more about the competition here: My favorite was Christoph Otawa's “Startrails over Dolomites" which is electrifying. Which one was your favorite?

*Sunset where the Sun didn't rise*

Helge Mortensen lives in the north of Norway. In May there is no sunrise and sunset, as the Sun remains above the horizon – a definite disadvantage for astronomers! In December, it's the opposite, for the Sun never rises over the horizon. However you can still get sunset sky effects, for we know those are quite spectacular when the Sun has dropped below the horizon. This is exquisite:

*A year since the last good-bye to Spirit*

The Mars rover Spirit's last communication was in March 2010. On May 24, 2011, after many attempts to re-establish communication, NASA declared her mission at an end. Nonetheless the little rover had functioned for six years in a hostile environment over difficult terrain – quite an achievement for a mission that was only expected to last three months. You can read Spirit's story at:

To participate in online discussions, this site has a community forum all about Astronomy located here -

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!

Do pass this message along to family and friends who might also be interested. Remember it's free and without obligation.

I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor

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