astronomy Newsletter


July 21 2012 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody!

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Pluto Facts for Kids
A dwarf planet so far away that the Sun would look like a exceptionally bright star, so cold that its atmosphere is frozen for most of its year. This is Pluto, former planet, and now the gateway to the Kuiper Belt.

There are some pins related to this article on my Pinterest board “The Outer Solar System”

*She named Pluto*

Venetia Burney was 11 years old and fascinated by classical mythology when she suggested a name for the new planet Clyde Tombaugh had discovered in Arizona. She lived in Oxford, England with her mother and grandparents and told her grandfather that Pluto would be a good name. He agreed and contacted a former Astronomer Royal who forwarded the idea to Vesto Slipher, the director of the Lowell Observatory. There was something of a family tradition here, because Venetia’s great uncle (her grandfather’s brother) had suggested the names Deimos and Phobos for the moons of Mars.

As Venetia Burney Phair, she died in April 2009 at the age of ninety. But in July 2007 on her 89th birthday, there was a special treat. She had never actually seen Pluto except in pictures. So it was arranged for her to go to the science centre at Herstmonceux (former home of the Royal Observatory) and see it through a telescope. An instrument on the New Horizons spacecraft was named after her.

*Apollo 11*

I’m writing this on July 21st. On this day 43 years ago Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were walking around on the Moon. A third man, Michael Collins, stayed on the command module. His book “Carrying the Fire” is reviewed here A fascinating film “In the Shadow of the Moon” speaks with astronauts from each of the Apollo missions. It’s reviewed here

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans,
Astronomy Editor

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