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August 29, 2011 - High Resolution

High Resolution Infrared astronomy is difficult to do from the ground, because infrared light is absorbed by water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere. But astronomers are an ingenious lot, and they have resolved this problem by going high and putting their telescopes in space, in high-flying aircraft, and on mountain tops in the high deserts far above much of Earth’s atmosphere. This infrared view of the Cat’s Paw Nebula, NGC 6334, was taken by the VISTA telescope at the Paranal Observatory in northern Chile. NGC 6334 is a star formation region 50 light-years across and 5,500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Scorpius. NGC 6334 is one of the most active nurseries of young massive stars in our galaxy, some nearly ten times the mass of our Sun and most born in just the last few million years.

Image credit: ESO / J. Emerson / VISTA / Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit

Weekly Calendar

August 29 - September 4, 2011

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 29

Moon phase Tuesday 30

Jupiter appears stationary
Moon at perigee

1963: Lunar Orbiter program approved by NASA
1983: STS-8 Challenger launched
1984: STS-41D Discovery launched

Moon phase Wednesday 31

Saturn 7° north of Moon

Moon phase Thursday 1

1964: First Titan IIIA launched
1979: Pioneer 11 becomes first spacecraft to fly past Saturn

Moon phase Friday 2

Moon phase Saturday 3

Mercury at greatest elongation (18° W)

1970: NASA cancels last two planned lunar landings
1976: Viking 2 lands on Mars
2006: SMART-1 spacecraft intentionally crashed into Moon

Moon phase Sunday 4

First Quarter Moon 1:39 PM ET

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