astronomy Newsletter


July 16 2013 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at Some light-hearted reading for a lazy summer day or dreary winter day, depending on which hemisphere you're in.

Astronomy Humor
Here’s a collection of astronomy jokes for kids, adults and geeks of all ages. Laughter helps to keep us young and healthy, so see if anything tickles your fancy. (And how *does* the Man in the Moon cut his hair?)

*Neptune’s 14th Moon*

Using Hubble Space Telescope images, a 14th Neptunian moon was discovered this month. It's so dark in color and tiny (less than 12 miles across) that even Voyager missed it on its fly-by decades ago.

Its temporary designation is S/2004 N 1, but its name should be that of a water deity from classical mythology. I think we can assume that it won't be called Vulcan.

Here is a picture: /


Lots of anniversaries this week, especially since 44 years ago this was the historic week when the whole world held its breath as Apollo 11 made its way to the Moon. (With thanks to The Year in Space calendar.)

Today, July 16
1969: Apollo 11 was launched.
2011: Dawn spacecraft enters orbit around Vesta.

July18, 1921: Happy birthday, John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth. Since then he’s become the oldest person in space by flying on the shuttle Discovery when he was 77. A mere youngster. He’ll be 92 on this birthday.

July 19, 1846: Edward Pickering born. He was the director of the Harvard College Observatory for many years. Pickering is known for hiring a number of women to do astronomical calculations, disparagingly called “Pickering’s harem”. Their number included Annie Jump Cannon ( and Henrietta Leavitt (

July 20
1969: Apollo 11 astronauts are the first humans to walk on the Moon.
1976: Viking 1 lands on Mars.

July 21, 1969: Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle lifts off from Moon

July 22, 1784: Friedrich Bessel born. He was a German astronomer and mathematician, and the first person to accurately measure a stellar parallax. Parallax – also known as triangulation – is way of determining distances geometrically on Earth and in space.

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor

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