astronomy Newsletter


September 25 2012 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody!

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012
An exquisite whirlpool of two galaxies held together by invisible bonds was this year's winning image. And the Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year captured the beauty of the Pleiades, a cluster of hot blue stars surrounded by a delicate haze of reflective dust. A feast for the eye.

Photography has been the key to our developing understanding of the cosmos. This article tells you something about its early days.

Photography and the Birth of Astrophysics
Saturn's rings, spiral galaxies, solar flares. Astrophotography has shown us some wonderful images, but it's more than pretty pictures. It has allowed us to discover objects too dim for the human eye to see. Partnered with spectroscopy, it moved astronomy from mapping to understanding the stars.

By the way, September 30 is the anniversary of the first photograph taken of the Orion nebula. It was taken by Henry Draper in 1880.


The equinox has passed and so, officially, summer is now gone. The day after this year's equinox is the anniversary of two astronomical discoveries.

On September 23, 1783 Caroline Herschel discovered NGC 253, now known as the Sculptor Galaxy. At the time no one understood the nature of the nebulae she and her brother William were studying, but we can now see NGC 253 as a dusty spiral galaxy. You can learn more about Caroline Herschel at and see a picture of the galaxy here:

On September 23, 1846 Johann Galle discovered Neptune, making use of the calculations of Urbain Le Verrier. Here is an article about Uranus (discovered by William Herschel) and Neptune:

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans,
Astronomy Editor

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