astronomy Newsletter


May 23 2014 Astronomy Newsletter

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Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

John Herschel
John Herschel was the son of William Herschel, discoverer of the planet Uranus. But he earned his own reputation as an astronomer, mathematician, chemist, translator, artist, writer, and pioneer of photography. When he died he was laid to rest in Westminster Abbey near Sir Isaac Newton.

*The dress rehearsal – Apollo 10*

On May 22, 1969 NASA astronauts Gene Cernan and Tom Stafford descended in a lunar module to within 15 km of the surface of the Moon. The Apollo 10 mission carried out out all the procedures except for the Big One: actually landing on the Moon. This, of course, would be done a few months later by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

The Apollo 10 lunar module was nicknamed Snoopy. Here's the silver pin which Charles Schultz, the creator of the Snoopy cartoon character, designed for NASA: The Apollo 10 command module is on display in the Science Museum in London, a rare Apollo artefact located outside the USA: Since Apollo 10 didn't land on the Moon, it hasn't left anything there, but you can read about what the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter saw of the Apollo landing sites here:

*K2 has funding*

The Kepler spacecraft was left crippled when it lost the use of a second reaction wheel, leaving it with only two. NASA's attempts to get one of the failed wheels working again wasn't successful. However earlier this year an ingenious idea was put forward about how to stabilize the craft with only two wheels. Here's an explanation of the proposed new mission, K2: It was successfully tested and two years of funding are now agreed. The first mission starts next week.

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor

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