astronomy Newsletter


September 25 2013 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Galileo's Daughter - book review
Most people think of Galileo as the man who is a symbol of the heroic voice of truth against a powerful reactionary Church. However this mythic Galileo is not the one Dava Sobel's book, "Galileo's Daughter", reveals through his faith, his work and his daughter's love.

*Discovery Monday*

Not only was Monday, September 23, the 167th anniversary of the discovery of Neptune, but it was also the 230th anniversary of Caroline Herschel's discovery of NGC 253. This is the Sculptor Galaxy, a beautiful spiral galaxy. Other names for it are Caroline's Galaxy and the Silver Dollar Galaxy. This image by Australian Mike Sidonio was Highly Commended in the “Deep Space” category of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2013.

By the way, Galileo may well have seen Neptune over two hundred years before Galle! Galileo recorded a faint background star while observing the moons of Jupiter. A planetarium program shows this "star" as being where Neptune was at that time. One writer thinks that Galileo knew it was a planet and not a star, but we have no evidence for that.

*Autumnal Equinox*

Here is a picture taken from space on the day of the autumnal equinox. The Russian weather satellite Electro-L is high above the equator in a geosynchronous orbit.

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor

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