astronomy Newsletter


July 22 2015 Astronomy Newsletter

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The Starry Crowns – Corona Australis
A wreath, a crown, a wheel of torment, a boomerang. The constellation Corona Australis has represented them all in different traditions. Its stars are dim, but its stories are vivid.

*New on Pluto*
Scientists and non-scientists are very taken with Pluto's large heart-shaped feature. Informally, the team is calling it Tombaugh Regio after Pluto's discoverer Clyde Tombaugh. (A general list of names for features in the Plutonian system has gone to the International Astronomical Union (IAU), but not been approved.) On Tombaugh Regio there's an immense plain, given the informal name Sputnik Planum. Its surface is broken into irregular segments about 20 km (12 miles) across with narrow troughs ringing them. Here's your chance to have a look at this strange plain: There is also an animation of the pictures taken of the mountains Norgay Montes, after Norgay Tensing – he and Edmund Hillary were the first two humans on the summit of Evertest.

(1) July 23: In 1999 STS-93 Columbia was launched, and astronauts deployed the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, which is still a highly sophisticated observatory providing X-Ray data. It was named for Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Indian-American Nobel laureate and one of the greatest astrophysicists of the last century.
(2) July 24: In 1969 the Apollo 11 crew, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, returned to Earth after a historic flight. Michael Collins's account is still one of the best. It's called “Carrying the Fire”. Here's my review:
(3) July 25: In 1984, cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya – the second woman in space – became the first woman to walk in Space.
(4) July 28: In 1851 the first photograph of a solar eclipse was taken. The daguerreotype image was taken by Berkowski (first name never published) of the Royal Observatory in Königsberg, Prussia. You can read about "Photography and the Birth of Astrophysics" here:

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor

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