November 1, 2010 - Galactic Center Gets New Address

Galactic Center Gets New Address Until the early part of the twentieth century, the size and shape of our galaxy remained somewhat a mystery. American astronomer Harlow Shapley, who was born 125 years ago this week, helped solve the mystery. Shapley knew that certain types of stars called RR Lyrae variables had a distinct pattern and range to their changes in brightness. Shapley discovered RR Lyrae stars in the globular clusters that encircle our galaxy; he was able to calculate the distance to almost 100 of these clusters, thus giving him a three-dimensional map of the outer reaches of the Milky Way. That map also allowed him to accurately point to the center of our galaxy. It is the bright spot in this Spitzer Space Telescope image, some 26,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / S. Stolovy (SSC/Caltech)

Weekly Calendar

November 1-7, 2010

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 1

Juno 0.7° south of Moon

1962: Mars 1 launched
1999: Area Code 321 goes into effect for areas near Kennedy Space Center

Moon phase Tuesday 2

Election Day

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

Moon phase Wednesday 3

Moon at perigee
Taurid meteor shower

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 Thursday 4

Saturn 8° north of Moon
Taurid meteor shower

Moon phase Friday 5

Moon phase Saturday 6

New Moon 12:52 AM ET

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

Moon phase Sunday 7

Daylight Savings Time ends 2:00am

Neptune appears stationary
Mars 1.6° north of Moon

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

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