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March 15, 2010 - Lost In The Glare

Lost in the Glare This Spitzer Space Telescope infrared view of spiral galaxy M31 in Andromeda also shows, at upper left, its less famous dwarf elliptical companion galaxy M110. Often overlooked, M110 shares a certain kinship with the astronomer who independently discovered it in 1783, ten years after Charles Messier first did. Caroline Herschel, born 260 years ago this week, was the sister of William Herschel, discoverer of Uranus. She spent most of her life as William’s apprentice, performing tedious calculations on his behalf, yet she managed to establish herself as an accomplished astronomer in her own right. She was the first woman to discover a comet (she found eight in all), she compiled catalogs of stellar observations, and she documented every discovery that she and William made.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / P. Barmby (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA)

Weekly Calendar

March 15-21, 2010

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 15

New Moon 5:01 PM ET

1713: Nicolas de Lacaille born
1932: Alan Bean born
1975: Helios 1 launched
2009: STS-119 Discovery launched

Moon phase Tuesday 16

1750: Caroline Herschel born
1926: Robert Goddard launches first liquid fuel rocket
1966: Gemini VIII launched
1975: Mariner 10’s 3rd Mercury flyby

Moon phase Wednesday 17

St. Patrick’s Day

Uranus in conjunction with Sun
Venus 7° south of Moon

1930: Jim Irwin born
1958: Vanguard 1 launched, first solar-powered satellite
1972: NASA issues request for proposals for Space Shuttle

Moon phase Thursday 18

1965: Voskhod 2 launched, Alexei Leonov takes world’s first spacewalk
1980: Soviet rocket explosion kills 50 workers at Plesetsk launch pad

Moon phase Friday 19

1970: First powered flight of X-24A lifting body

Moon phase Saturday 20

Spring Equinox 1:32 PM

Moon phase Sunday 21

Saturn at opposition

1965: Ranger 9 launched

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