astronomy Newsletter


July 24 2013 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at This is the story that completes the set of articles on the Perseus myth.

Perseus the Hero
Perseus was a first-class hero: a demi-god, monster-slayer, maiden-rescuer, founder of Mycenae. When he died the gods put him in the sky. His constellation contains beautiful nebula, a demon and a singing black hole.

*Around Saturn*
Here is an exquisite video showing Saturn's rings and moons. Fabio di Donato made the animation using images selected from over 200,000 taken by Cassini between 2005 and 2013. It's set to a Shostakovich waltz, so I wonder if you can watch it without swaying to the music. (I couldn't.) Donato dedicated it to the memory of Italian astrophysicist and popular science writer Margherita Hack. She died last month, aged 91. Donato said, “She made me love the stars.”

It calls out for full screen viewing:

Find out more about the Cassini mission and website at:

*The Day the Earth Smiled*

On July 19, Earth was photographed from two different places in the Solar System. Cassini imaged it from Saturn and MESSENGER from Mercury.

Astronomy groups around the world had special events to wave at Saturn, and view it if possible. Here are some people at JPL in Pasadena, California: The hula hoops were a nice touch! JPL, of course, has a close association with the Cassini mission.

Last week's picture is only the third image of Earth ever captured from the outer Solar System. The second one was also captured by Cassini:

However the first one was taken, at Carl Sagan's request, by Voyager 1 looking homeward from well beyond Neptune. In the “family portrait” the Earth can just be found as a “pale blue dot”. It was the theme of Sagan's famous reflection on what our fragile home means to us. You can see part of Sagan's text, beautifully illustrated, here:

No one was encouraged to stare in the direction of Mercury as it's very close to the Sun, so the MESSENGER picture didn't get as much publicity. You can see the two views of home here, but don't expect much detail. Remember they're both pretty far away.

For a variety of astronomy images, follow me on Pinterest at:

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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