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January 26, 2015 - Southern Pinwheel

Southern Pinwheel   The vibrant magentas and blues in this Hubble image of M83 show the nearby spiral galaxy is ablaze with star formation. Also known as the Southern Pinwheel, M83 lies 15 million light-years away in the constellation Hydra. Thousands of star clusters, hundreds of thousands of individual stars, and “ghosts” of dead stars called supernova remnants are visible. The galactic panorama unveils a tapestry of the drama of stellar birth and death spread across 50,000 light-years. The newest generations of stars are forming largely in clusters on the edges of the dark spiral dust lanes. These brilliant young stellar groupings, only a few million years old, produce huge amounts of ultraviolet light that is absorbed by surrounding diffuse gas clouds, causing them to glow in pinkish hydrogen light.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Weekly Calendar

January 26 - February 1, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 26

First Qtr Moon 11:48 PM ET

Moon phase Tuesday 27

1967: Apollo 1 astronauts Grissom, White, and Chaffee die in cockpit fire on launch pad during test

Moon phase Wednesday 28

1611: Johannes Hevelius born
1986: Space Shuttle Challenger explodes, 7 astronauts die

Moon phase Thursday 29

Aldebaran 1.2° south of Moon
Juno at opposition

1964: SA-5 launched, first Saturn I Block 2 rocket
1989: Phobos 2 enters orbit around Mars

Moon phase Friday 30

Mercury in inferior conjunction
(between Earth and Sun)

1964: Ranger 6 launched

Moon phase Saturday 31

1958: Explorer 1 launched
1961: Mercury Redstone 2 suborbital flight with chimpanzee Ham
1966: Luna 9 launched
1971: Apollo 14 launched
1985: ESA approves the Columbus program

Moon phase Sunday 1

Venus 0.8° south of Neptune

1956: Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA) established
1959: First Titan I launch
2003: Space shuttle Columbia destroyed during reentry; 7 astronauts die

Suggestions for new history dates or better links? Corrections for errors on this page? Please e-mail me.