astronomy Newsletter


July 3 2016 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Why the Sky Looks Blue
A sunny day with a beautiful blue sky may prompt a child to wonder why the sky is blue. It's a good question. After all, the Sun isn't blue, and even if the sky above us looks blue, the air around us doesn't. The answer has to do with sunlight, Earth's atmosphere, and our eyes.

*Birth Anniversaries*

June 29, 1868: George Ellery Hale was born. Hale was a prominent American solar astronomer. However he's best known for - three times in his life - being instrumental in the creation of what was, in its time, the world's largest telescope. They were: (1) the 40-inch refractor at Yerkes Observatory, (2) the 100-inch reflector at Mt Wilson Observatory, and (3) the 200-inch reflector at Palomar Observatory. You can find out more about Palomar Observatory here – experts assured Hale that it was impossible to build a 200-inch telescope.

July 3, 1935: Harrison Schmidt was born. He was the geologist who went to the Moon on the Apollo 17 mission. Schmidt was the only professional scientist ever to go beyond low Earth orbit.

*Tunguska and Asteroid Day*

On June 30, 1908, over 2000 sq km (800 sq mi) of Siberian forest was leveled. The most likely cause was a large asteroid or comet that streaked in as a fireball and exploded in the air. June 30th was chosen last year for Asteroid Day, established as an annual event to increase awareness of the dangers and promote action to track asteroids and devise ways of deflecting them. Here is their website:

*Canada Day*
Canadian readers, I'm behind schedule again this week, or I would have wished you a Happy Canada Day for July 1st. But the weekend isn't over yet, and I hope you're having a good one.

*Independence Day*
Happy 4th of July to American readers. Do you know what links the USA's Independence Day holiday, the Crab Nebula and NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft? How about what links the American War of Independence and the planet Uranus? And what is the Fireworks Galaxy? Here's the story:

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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