astronomy Newsletter


September 5 2017 Astronomy Newsletter

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Jean-Dominique Cassini

The Cassini Mission to Saturn is one of NASA's best known undertakings. For nearly thirteen years it's sent images and data back from the ringed planet and its moons. But who was the Cassini who gave his name to the spacecraft?

*Cassini – the mission is almost over*
Cassini-Huygens arrived at Saturn in 2004, but after nearly thirteen glorious years, Cassini's final mission is almost complete. It will end on September 15th with a plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn.

*Voyagers - 40 years on*
It's been forty years since the two Voyager spacecraft were launched - Voyager 2 on August 20 and Voyager 1 on September 5. Each carries something unique . . .

Voyagers - the Golden Record
The Voyagers are on a mission that will eventually take them to the stars. They are both carrying a message from Earth. What images, sounds and music were chosen to represent the people of Earth?

*Anniversaries – space missions*
(1) September 1, 1979: Pioneer 11 was the first spacecraft to fly by Saturn. It's now nearly 98 times farther away from the Sun than Earth is.
(2) September 3, 1976: Viking 2 landed on Mars, as part of NASA's first astrobiology mission.
(3) September 5, 1977: Voyager 1 was launched.

(1) August 31, 1913: Bernard Lovell, English astronomer and pioneer of radio astronomy. The iconic Jodrell Bank telescope was named for him.
(2) September 8, 1789: William Cranch Bond, American astronomer and pioneer of astrophotography, was the first director of the Harvard College Observatory.
(3) September 11, 1877: James Jeans, English astrophysicist and mathematician who made important contributions to the theories of radiation and stellar evolution.

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor

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