astronomy Newsletter


August 7 2014 Astronomy Newsletter

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Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Aries the Golden Ram
Aries was the winged ram from which the Golden Fleece came. Two thousand years ago his constellation marked the spring equinox when the Sun crossed the celestial equator near Beta and Gamma Arietis. The equinox is now in Pisces, but what strange object was discovered in 2007 in Aries?

*Rosetta meets Comet C-G*
It's been a ten-year journey, but worth the wait. Yesterday morning (August 6) the European Space Agency's Rosetta probe successfully made her rendezvous with Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. As the craft got nearer, the pictures made it obvious that the shape of the comet was nothing like they'd expected from its light curve. There will be lots more surprises as Rosetta studies this wanderer in space.

You can read about Rosetta's long journey here: We'll have to wait for the rest of the story!

*Neil Armstrong (August 5, 1930 – August 25, 2012)*
July 20 was the 45th anniversary of the first Moon landing. It's still amazingly vivid in the minds of people who were around then. It's one of those events where we remember exactly where we were then, even when last week is a bit fuzzy.

The 84th anniversary of the birth of the first human to set foot on another world was on Tuesday this week. Sadly, the second anniversary of Neil Armstrong's death is also coming up in a few weeks.

*The Perseids are coming!*
The peak for this year's Perseid meteor shower is next week. It's expected the night/morning of August 12/13. The hours before dawn are the best for viewing, but not all of us can manage to stay up that late or get up that early. But Perseids are already being reported, and there will still be some around for a few weeks after the peak. So it's worth having a look if you have a clear sky some night.

The Moon is already a substantial gibbous and will be full over the weekend and then continue to be very bright for several days. This washes out the fainter meteors, though it does make it less likely that anyone will trip over the lawn chairs.

You can read more about the Perseids here:

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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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