astronomy Newsletter


June 10 2012 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody!

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Le Gentil - Heroic Failure
Here's the story of Guillaume Le Gentil who went to India to observe the transit of Venus in 1761 and took eleven years to get home again. War and weather conspired to prevent his making observations and illness further delayed his return. Was he the unluckiest astronomer ever?

*Transit of Venus – photo galleries*
Only the last hour of the transit would have been visible from my area and that was at sunrise (4.45 a.m.). Yes, I did get up. The sky had some clear patches and I went to a place with a good easterly horizon. But none of the clear patches coincided with the Sun, so ended up spending an hour on the riverside staring at clouds. But this was a minor annoyance compared to Le Gentil's experience!

The Big Picture has a wonderful selection of images. Make sure to view them full screen if you can. Which one is your favorite? I liked the atmospheric look of the Sun in Manhattan in #12 and #15 with the bird made me smile.

The fabulous French astrophotographer Thierry Legault captured another of his amazing pictures. He has captured the Hubble Space Telescope transiting the Sun along with Venus.

*200th anniversary of the birth of Johann Galle*

Johann Gottfried Galle, co-discoverer of Neptune, was born on June 9, 1812.

The orbit of Uranus wasn't behaving as expected and French mathematician Urbain Le Verrier thought the gravity of an unknown planet could be affecting it. He calculated the expected position of this planet and asked Galle at the Berlin University to look for it. He and his assistant found Neptune and history was made – a planet was discovered by math!

To learn more about Neptune . . .
“Uranus and Neptune Twin Planets”:
“Neptune Facts for Kids”:

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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