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November 2, 2009 - Skies under Scrutiny

Skies Under Scrutiny A truly international effort to study Earth’s atmosphere took place on the space shuttle Atlantis during the STS-66 mission, which was launched fifteen years ago this week. The third ATmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Sciences (ATLAS-3) flew as part of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Spacelab module, along with an ESA mission specialist. ATLAS-3 studied how the Sun’s energy output and the middle atmosphere’s chemical makeup affect global ozone levels. Also on board was the German-built Shuttle Pallet Satellite, which carried two additional instruments. Underscoring the fact that Earth’s atmosphere can be studied but not controlled, bad weather in Florida forced Atlantis to divert to its alternate landing site at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Image credit: NASA

Weekly Calendar

November 2-8, 2009

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 2

Full Moon 2:14 pm

1885: Harlow Shapley born
1917: First light for Mount Wilson Observatory 100-inch Hooker telescope

Moon phase Tuesday 3

Election Day

1957: Sputnik 2 carries dog Laika, first living creature to orbit Earth
1966: Test flight of Manned Orbital Laboratory components
1973: Mariner 10 launched
1994: STS-66 Atlantis launched

Moon phase Wednesday 4

Neptune appears stationary

Moon phase Thursday 5

Mercury in superior conjunction
Taurid meteor shower

Moon phase Friday 6

Taurid meteor shower

1572: Tycho Brahe records bright new star (supernova SN 1572) in Cassiopeia
1966: Lunar Orbiter II launched

Moon phase Saturday 7

Moon at perigee

1963: First flight test of Apollo Launch Escape System
1967: Surveyor 6 launched
1996: Mars Global Surveyor launched

Moon phase Sunday 8

1656: Edmund Halley born
1984: STS-51A Discovery launched
1995: STS-74 Atlantis launched
2005: ESA’s Venus Express launched

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