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August 3, 2015 - Milky Way Looks in the Mirror

Milky Way Looks in the Mirror  Spiraling around, 61 million light-years away in the constellation Fornax (the Furnace), NGC 1365 is enormous. At 200,000 light-years across, it is one of the largest galaxies known to astronomers. This, plus the sharply defined bar of old stars across its structure is why it is also known as the Great Barred Spiral Galaxy. Astronomers think that our Milky Way Galaxy may look very similar to this galaxy, but at half the size. The bright center of the galaxy is thought to be due to huge amounts of super-hot gas ejected from the ring of material circling a central black hole. Young luminous hot stars, born out of the interstellar clouds, give the arms a prominent appearance and a blue color. The bar and spiral pattern rotates, with one full turn taking about 350 million years.

Image credit: ESO / IDA / Danish 1.5 m / R. Gendler, J-E. Ovaldsen, C. Thöne, and C. Feron

Weekly Calendar

August 3-9, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 3

2004: MESSENGER spacecraft launched to Mercury
2005: First in-flight space shuttle repair

Moon phase Tuesday 4

1967: NASA announces sixth astronaut class
1984: First Ariane 3 launched
2007: Phoenix Mars Lander launched

Moon phase Wednesday 5

Mercury 8° north of Venus
Uranus 1° north of Moon

1930: Neil Armstrong born
1966: Final M2-F1 lifting body glide test
1969: Mariner 7 flies by Mars
: Juno spacecraft launched to Jupiter

Moon phase Thursday 6

Last Qtr Moon 10:03 PM ET

1961: Vostok 2 launched, first full-day human space mission, Gherman Titov first person to sleep in space
2012: Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity lands on Mars

Moon phase Friday 7

Mercury 0.6° north of Jupiter
Mercury 1° north of Regulus

1959: Explorer 6 launched
1969: Zond 7 launched
1980: Viking 1 orbiter ceases operation
1997: STS-85 Discovery launched

Moon phase Saturday 8

Pallas appears stationary
Aldebaran 0.7° south of Moon

1978: Pioneer-Venus 2 launched
1989: Hipparcos observatory launched
1989: STS-28 Columbia launched
2001: Genesis spacecraft launched
2007: STS-118 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Sunday 9

1965: First static test of SIV-B stage
1976: Luna 24 launched

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