astronomy Newsletter


July 5 2017 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody

Here are the latest articles from the Astronomy site at

Beautiful Planet – film review
The Milky Way contains billions of stars and planets, but Earth is to us the most beautiful. The thin skin of our atmosphere protects us from many space hazards, but can't protect life on Earth from human-made hazards. Tony Meyers's new film A Beautiful Planet 3D says only we can do that.

Lacerta – the Northern Stellar Lizard
Although the night sky has two lizards, the classical world wasn't enthralled by small reptiles. Both Lacerta and Chamaeleon constellations date from about the 17th century, which is considered modern. Lacerta is home to a fiery dwarf, a puffy planet and one of the most energetic known galaxies.

*10 Historic Anniversaries*

(1) June 16, 1963: Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space, and is still the only woman to make a solo space flight.
(2) June 18, 1983: physicist and astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman in space.
(3) June 19, 2009: NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) were launched. The LCROSS mission confirmed the presence of water in a shadowed crater on the Moon. LRO is still mapping the Moon.
(4) June 22, 1675: the Royal Observatory Greenwich was founded. The Prime Meridian (0 degrees of longitude) goes through Greenwich.
(5) June 29, 1995: the first docking between the Soviet space station Mir and the American Space Shuttle took place.
(6) June 30, 1908: an asteroid breaking up in the atmosphere leveled hundreds of miles of Siberian forest around Tunguska.
(7) June 30, 2001: the Wilkinson Microwave Anistotropy Probe (WMAP) was launched. It measured tiny temperature differences across the sky in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) – the radiant heat left over from the Big Bang.
(8) July 1, 1917: the 100" mirror for the Hooker telescope arrived at Mt Wilson Observatory. Edwin Hubble's observations with the Hooker allowed him to calculate the distance to Andromeda, using a Cepheid Variable. It showed Andromeda was a separate galaxy. Hubble and Humason also observed the redshifts of a number of galaxies and found that they were moving away from us.
(9) July 2, 1985: the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the Giotto probe to study Halley's Comet.
(10) July 4, 2005: NASA's Deep Impact probe collided with comet Tempel 1. The Deep Impact mission was designed to study the interior composition of the comet Tempel 1 (9P/Tempel) by releasing an impactor into it.


(1) June 18, 1799: William Lassell, English merchant and astronomer, known for his improvements to the reflecting telescope and his discoveries, e.g., two of the moons of Neptune.
(2) June 26, 1730: Charles Messier, French astronomer known for his catalog of deep-sky objects.
(3) June 28, 1912: Ruby Payne-Scott, Australian pioneer in radio physics and radioastronomy, the first female radio astronomer.
(4) June 29, 1868: George Ellery Hale, a key figure in the creation of three telescopes, each of which was the biggest in the world at the time of construction: the 40-inch refractor at Yerkes Observatory, the 60-inch Hale reflector at Mt Wilson and the 200-inch Hale reflector at Palomar Observatory.
(5) July 3, 1935. Harrison Schmit, geologist and Apollo 17 astronaut.
(6) July 4, 1868. Henriett Swan Leavitt, American astronomer whose discovery of the relationship between the period and the luminosity of Cepheid variable stars made possible Edwin Hubble's work on galactic distances.

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!

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor

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