December 24, 2012 - Nebula by Newton

Nebula by Newton Isaac Newton, one of the most influential scientists of all time, was born 370 years ago this week. Newton conceived the physical and mathematical theories that put an end to any lingering belief in an Earth-centered universe. In addition to developing Newtonian physics, and co-developing calculus, Newton invented the first practical reflecting telescope, which used a curved mirror instead of a lens to collect light. All of the largest research telescopes—including Hubble—are variations on that original design. This image of the Crescent Nebula (NGC 6888) was taken with the 2.5-meter (100-inch) Isaac Newton Telescope (named in honor of Newton and, appropriately enough, a Newtonian reflector) located at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory in the Canary Islands.

Image credit: Daniel López / IAC

Weekly Calendar

December 24-30, 2012

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 24

1968: Apollo 8 enters lunar orbit
1978: Venera 11 lands on Venus
1979: European Space Agency launches first Ariane rocket

Moon phase Tuesday 25

Christmas Day

Moon at apogee
Jupiter 0.4° north of Moon

1642: Isaac Newton born
2003: Mars Express and Beagle 2 arrive at Mars
2004: Huygens probe separates from Cassini spacecraft

Moon phase Wednesday 26

Boxing Day (Canada, U.K., Australia)
First Day of Kwanzaa

Jupiter appears stationary

Moon phase Thursday 27

1571: Johannes Kepler born
1984: Meteorite ALH 84001 discovered

Moon phase Friday 28

Full Moon 5:21 AM ET

1882: Arthur Eddington born

Moon phase Saturday 29

1980: STS-1 leaves Vehicle Assembly Building and rolls out to launch pad

Moon phase Sunday 30

Pluto in conjunction with Sun

1957: Wernher von Braun proposes the Saturn-class launch vehicle

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