astronomy Newsletter


June 4 2016 Astronomy Newsletter

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Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Astronauts – in Memoriam
Traveling into space is an astronaut's dream. However it's a dangerous occupation, both in the realization and in the training. A number of astronauts, almost all American or Russian, have paid the ultimate price for their dreams. Where are their memorials?


May 29, 1919: Einstein's Theory of General Relativity was tested during a total solar eclipse.
Under the direction of English astrophysicist Arthur Eddington, two groups of British astronomers observed the total eclipse. They photographed the positions of stars that appeared near the Sun. Then the positions of these stars were compared to a photograph taken when these stars were opposite the Sun. Einstein's theory predicted that the starlight would be bent by the Sun in the eclipse images. “Einstein's Eclipse” tells the story:

May 30, 1934: Alexei Leonov was born.
Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov was the first person ever to exit an orbiting spacecraft - the first "spacewalk". It nearly cost him his life, but he managed to get back into the craft and lived to make a second trip into space. He's also a talented artist. More about the Soviet space program:

June 2, 2003: ESA's Mars Express was launched.
Mars Express was the European Space Agency's first planetary mission. The orbiter is still collecting and transmitting data. Unsuccessfully, the astrobiology lander Beagle 2 went to the red planet with Mars Express, but did not deploy. Here is Beagle 2's story:

June 3, 1948: The 200-inch Hale Telescope was dedicated.
What was then the biggest telescope in the world was located at Palomar Observatory in southern California. It was named for George Ellery Hale who had persevered in the building of a telescope that was deemed to be impossible. Here's the story:

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor

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