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September 28, 2015 - From Glass Plates to Pixels

From Glass Plates to Pixels  Although the Moon was imaged using the daguerreotype process in 1840, it wasn’t until 1880 that glass photographic plates were sufficiently sensitive to record faint nebulae. One hundred thirty-five years ago this week, Henry Draper, a physician by trade but astronomer by calling, used a sensitive glass plate to make the first nebula photograph. His subject was the Orion Nebula, the brightest nebula in the sky. Advances in emulsion-based photography occurred at a steady pace, and very soon astrophotographs were able to reveal more detail than the human eye could see. Astrophotography on film has now given way to digital imaging, such as this breathtaking image of the Orion Nebula, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. The original image contains 324 million pixels.

Image credit: NASA,ESA, M. Robberto (Space Telescope Science Institute/ESA) and the Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team

Weekly Calendar

September 28 - October 4, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 28

Uranus 1° north of Moon
Vesta at opposition

Moon phase Tuesday 29

1977: Salyut 6 space station launched
1988: STS-26 Discovery launched, first shuttle flight since Challenger disaster
2001: First satellite launch from Alaska
2009: MESSENGER makes its third and final flyby of Mercury

Moon phase Wednesday 30

Mercury in inferior conjunction (between Earth and Sun)

1880: Henry Draper takes first photograph of Orion Nebula
1994: STS-68 Endeavour launched
1995: Daily communication with Pioneer 11 ends
2005Soyuz TMA-7 launched carrying ISS Expedition 12 crew
2009Soyuz TMA-16 launched carrying ISS Expedition 21/22 crew

Moon phase Thursday 1

1897: 40-inch refractor dedicated at Yerkes Observatory
1958: NASA founded
1962: 300-foot radio telescope at Green Bank goes into operation
2010: Chang’e-2 lunar spacecraft launched

Moon phase Friday 2

Aldebaran 0.5° south of Moon

Moon phase Saturday 3

1935: Charlie Duke born
1942: First V2 rocket launched
1962: Mercury Sigma 7 launched
1967: X-15A-2 flies at mach 6.7
1985: STS-51J Atlantis launched

Moon phase Sunday 4

World Space Week begins

Last Qtr Moon 5:06 PM ET

1957: Sputnik 1 launched
: Luna 3 launched
2004: SpaceShipOne wins X Prize

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