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November 9, 2020 - Recognizing Red Shift

Recognizing Red Shift  An astronomer who you’ve probably never heard of has a name that is nonetheless unforgettable: Vesto Melvin Slipher. Born 145 years ago this week, Slipher spent his entire professional career at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, where in 1912 he was the first astronomer to measure the shift in spectral lines of galaxies. This “red shift” gave astronomers a way to measure the immense speed at which galaxies are receding from us. The first galaxy that Slipher measured was the Andromeda Galaxy (above). Slipher’s red shift data was later combined with accurate distance measurements by Edwin Hubble and Milton Humason, who noticed a relationship between distance and speed which formed the basis for a new and profound concept: the expanding universe.

Image credit: Gianni / CC BY-ND 2.0

Weekly Calendar

November 9 - 15, 2020

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 9

1934: Carl Sagan born
1967: Surveyor 6 lands on Moon
1967: Apollo 4 launched, first Saturn V launch

Moon phase Tuesday 10

Mercury greatest elongation (19° W)

1970: Luna 17 launched

Moon phase Wednesday 11

Remembrance Day (Canada)
Veteran’s Day

1875: Vesto Slipher born
1966: Gemini XII launched
1982: STS-5 Columbia launched

Moon phase Thursday 12

Venus 3° south of Moon

1833: Great Leonid Meteor Shower
1980: Voyager 1 flies past Saturn
1981: STS-2 Columbia launched
2014: Philae probe becomes first spacecraft to land on a comet

Moon phase Friday 13

Mercury 1.7° south of Moon

1971: Mariner 9 becomes first spacecraft to orbit Mars
1978: Einstein Observatory (HEAO-2) launched

Moon phase Saturday 14

Moon at perigee

1969: Apollo 12 launched, second lunar landing mission
2008: STS-126 Endeavour launched
2011: Soyuz TMA-22 launched carrying ISS Expedition 29/30 crew

Moon phase Sunday 15

New Moon 12:07 AM ET
Venus 4° north of Spica
Mars stationary

1738: William Herschel born
1973: First powered flight of X-24B lifting body
1988: Green Bank 300-foot radio telescope collapses
1988: Soviet Shuttle Buran launched
1990: STS-38 Atlantis launched

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