February 1, 2010 - All Eyes on M51

All Eyes on M51 The Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as M51, is a classic example of a spiral galaxy. Thirty million light-years away, it is also one of the brightest spirals in the night sky. This composite image shows the majesty of its structure in a dramatic new way through several of NASA’s orbiting observatories. X-ray data from the Chandra Observatory reveals point-like sources (purple) that are black holes and neutron stars in binary star systems, and the glow of hot gas that permeates the space between the stars. Optical data from the Hubble (green) and infrared emission from the Spitzer (red) Space Telescopes both highlight long lanes in the spiral arms consisting of stars and gas laced with dust. The GALEX telescope shows hot young stars that produce great amounts of ultraviolet energy (blue).

Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Wesleyan Univ./R.Kilgard et al; UV: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Optical: NASA/ESA/S. Beckwith & Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ Univ. of AZ/R. Kennicutt

Weekly Calendar

February 1-7, 2010

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 1

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

Moon phase Tueday 2

Groundhog Day

Saturn 8° north of Moon

Moon phase Wednesday 3

1966: Luna 9 lands on Moon
1984: STS-41B Challenger launched
STS-60 Discovery launched
1995: STS-63 Discovery launched
: Astronauts aboard the ISS launch SuitSat satellite

Moon phase Thursday 4

1906: Clyde Tombaugh born

Moon phase Friday 5

Last Quarter Moon 6:48 PM ET

1965: First test of Apollo Service Propulsion System engine
1967: Lunar Orbiter III launched
1971: Apollo 14 lands on Moon
1974: Mariner 10 uses gravity of Venus to adjust trajectory toward Mercury

Moon phase Saturday 6

1971: Alan Shepard hits first golf balls on Moon

Moon phase Sunday 7

Antares 1.1° south of Moon

1984: Bruce McCandless makes first untethered spacewalk during STS-41B
1999: Stardust comet probe launched
2001: STS-98 Atlantis launched
2008: STS-122 Atlantis launched

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