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May 12, 2014 - Telescope Twin Bill

Telescope Twin Bill Five years ago this week, an Ariane 5 rocket rose from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana carrying two cutting edge space telescopes for the European Space Agency. Herschel, named after English astronomer siblings Sir William and Caroline Herschel, ended operations in 2013 but was the largest, most powerful infrared telescope ever flown in space. Planck, named after German physicist Max Planck, is the first European space observatory whose main goal is the study of the Cosmic Microwave Background—the relic radiation from the Big Bang. Two instruments on Herschel worked in concert to create this infrared image of the Andromeda Galaxy. It shows cooler lanes of dust (yellow) that mark locations where new stars are being born, and the galaxy’s hotter (blue) core.

Image credit: ESA / Herschel / PACS & SPIRE Consortium, O. Krause, HSC, H. Linz

Weekly Calendar

May 12-18, 2014

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Monday 12

1930: Adler Planetarium opens, first planetarium in Western Hemisphere

Tuesday 13

Mercury 8° north of Aldebaran

1964: Apollo A-001 launched (Little Joe II test flight)

Wednesday 14

Full Moon 3:16 PM ET
Saturn 0.6° north of Moon

1973: Skylab launched
2009: Herschel and Planck space observatories launched
2010: STS-132 Atlantis launched

Thursday 15

Venus 1.3° south of Uranus

1958: Sputnik 3 launched
1963: Faith 7 launched, last Mercury program flight
1997: STS-84 Atlantis launched, sixth Mir docking mission
2012: Soyuz TMA-04M launched carrying ISS Expedition 31/32 crew

Friday 16

2011: STS-134 Endeavour launched

Saturday 17

1836: Norman Lockyer born

Sunday 18

Moon at perigee

1969: Apollo 10 launched
1984: Viking 1 lander given to National Air & Space Museum
1996: First test flight of DC-XA rocket
: 23rd and final spacewalk to service the Hubble Space Telescope

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