astronomy Newsletter


September 28 2016 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016
The Sun as you've never before seen it. A twilight aurora, lunar landscapes, and galaxies far far away. There's all that and more in the Insight Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016 exhibition at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

Jupiter's icy moon Europa has long been known to have a subsurface ocean, and therefore considered a place where primitive life may have developed. However even if a probe were sent there, how would it dig deep enough to sample the ocean? But recently, NASA has found evidence that, like Enceladus, Europa shoots out plumes of vapor. This means sampling could occur on the surface.

*Good-bye, Rosetta*
On Friday, September 30, Rosetta's mission ends with the spacecraft landing on the comet. There's more about Rosetta in the Astronomy Forum:

(1) September 23, 1783: Caroline Herschel discovered NGC253. It looked like no more than a fuzzy patch in Herschel's telescope, but it's now seen as a dusty spiral galaxy in the constellation Sculptor. It's also known as the Sculptor Galaxy or Silver Coin Galaxy:
(2) September 23, 1846: Johann Galle at the Berlin Observatory discovered the planet Neptune. Urbain Le Verrier had sent Galle his calculation showing where he thought there should be a new planet. Having received Le Verrier's letter, Galle found the planet that same night.

(1) September 18, 1977: Voyager 1 took the first photo ever to include the Earth and the Moon in the same frame. You can see it here:
(2) September 30, 1995: last transmission from Pioneer 10 received.

*Birth anniversaries*
(1) September 25, 1644: Danish astronomer Ole Christensen Rømer was born. He demonstrated that light travels at a finite speed. He did this measuring the length of time between eclipses of Jupiter by its moon Io when the Earth was at different distances from Jupiter.
(2) September 27, 1814: American astronomer and mathematician Daniel Kirkwood was born. Kirkwood studied asteroid orbits, and discovered that there were several gaps in the orbits. They're now named Kirkwood gaps and are caused by Jupiter's gravitational effects.
(3) October 1, 1958: NASA was founded.

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor

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