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April 27, 2015 - Comet Sage

Comet Sage  Not many people see their name in lights, and even fewer have heavenly objects named after them. One of this select few was a Dutch astronomer, Jan Oort, born 115 years ago this week. By the time of his death in 1992, Oort was recognized as one of the greatest astronomers of the century. Both an observer and a theorist, Oort revolutionized astronomy through his ground-breaking discoveries. While still in his twenties, he shook the scientific world by demonstrating that the Milky Way rotates like a pinwheel. He was also a pioneer in the field of radio astronomy, and his study of comets led him to postulate that they originate from a spherical region beyond the edge of the solar system, which is today known as the Oort cloud. Seen here, Comet Lovejoy hangs above the Paranal Observatory in Chile.

Image credit: G. Blanchard (eso.org/~gblancha) / ESO

Weekly Calendar

April 27 - May 3, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Monday 27

Tuesday 28

1900: Jan Oort born
1906: Bart Bok born
Eugene Shoemaker born
STS-39 Discovery launched
Soyuz TM-32 launched; Dennis Tito becomes first space tourist
GALEX launched
CloudSat and CALIPSO launched

Wednesday 29

Moon at apogee

1985: STS-51B Challenger launched

Thursday 30

Friday 1

1949: Gerard Kuiper discovers Nereid, moon of Neptune
1996: Comet Hyakutake closest approach to Sun

Saturday 2

Sunday 3

Full Moon 11:42 PM ET

2003: ISS Expedition Six crew returns to Earth after 161 days in orbit

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