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July 27, 2009 - Barred Beauty

Barred Beauty M83, also known as the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy or NGC 5236, is a barred spiral galaxy approximately 15 million light-years away in the constellation Hydra. The bright areas of the spiral arms indicate regions of new star birth, and dark rivers of obscuring dust can be seen extending from the arms through M83’s core. It is one of the closest and brightest barred spiral galaxies in the sky, making it visible with binoculars. M83 is also a popular spot for supernovae, playing host to these tremendous stellar explosions on six different occasions in the past century. Nicolas Louis de Lacaille discovered M83 in 1752 while observing at the Cape of Good Hope, and comet hunter Charles Messier added it as the eighty-third entry in his eponymous catalogue of nebulous objects in 1781.

Image credit: R. Jay GaBany / www.cosmotography.com

 

Weekly Calendar

July 27 - August 2, 2009

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 27

Mars 5° north of Aldebaran

Moon phase Tuesday 28

First Quarter Moon 6:00 pm

1851: First photo of total solar eclipse
1964: Ranger 7 lunar probe launched
1973: Skylab 3 crew launched on 59-day mission

Moon phase Wednesday 29

1985: STS-51F Challenger launched
2005: Discovery of Xena, possible tenth planet, announced

Moon phase Thursday 30

1965: SA-10 launched, last Saturn 1 vehicle
1971: Apollo 15 lands on Moon

Moon phase Friday 31

Antares 0.5° south of Moon

1969: Mariner 6 flies by Mars
1971: First vehicle driven on Moon by Apollo 15 astronauts Scott & Irwin
1992: STS-46 Atlantis launched
1999: Lunar Prospector mission ends

Moon phase Saturday 1

1818: Maria Mitchell born
1967: Lunar Orbiter V launched
1968: Saturn V production ends
1973: First X-24B lifting body glide test

Moon phase Sunday 2

Mercury 0.6° north of Regulus

1971: Apollo 15 lunar module Falcon leaves Moon in first televised lunar liftoff
1991: STS-43 Atlantis launched

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