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October 19, 2015 - Tuning in Radio Astronomy

Tuning in Radio Astronomy  In the 1930s, Karl Jansky, a Bell Labs physicist, tried to identify the sources of static that might foul transatlantic radio telephone service. He built a large rotating antenna (it moved on Model-T Ford tires) and identified static caused by thunderstorms, as well as a mysterious, faint, steady hiss that moved in synch with the stars. Jansky concluded the hiss was not caused by the Sun, but rather by radio emissions from ionized gas at our galaxy’s core. Jansky, born 110 years ago this week, was the first person to detect radio waves from space. Today, radio telescopes provide an essential view of the universe. The Karl Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico, shown here, is a collection of twenty-seven radio antennae, each 25 m (85 ft) in diameter. It was featured in the 1997 movie “Contact.”

Image credit: Fred Espenak

Weekly Calendar

October 19-25, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 19

1910: Subramanyan Chandrasekhar born
1967: Mariner 5 flies past Venus
2005: Final Titan IV rocket launched

Moon phase Tuesday 20

1970: Zond 8 launched
1995: STS-73 Columbia launched

Moon phase Wednesday 21

Orionid meteor shower

1923: First public planetarium show, Deutsches Museum in Munich
: Hubble Heritage Project website launched
2008: Chandrayaan-1 lunar probe launched

Moon phase Thursday 22

Orionid meteor shower

2136 BCE: First record of solar eclipse
1905: Karl Jansky born
1966: Luna 12 launched
1975: Venera 9 orbits Venus
1992: STS-52 Columbia launched

Moon phase Friday 23

Neptune 3° south of Moon

1968: First powered flight of the HL-10 lifting body
2007: STS-120 Discovery launched
2012: Soyuz TMA-06M launched carrying ISS Expedition 33/34 crew

Moon phase Saturday 24

1851: William Lassell discovers Uranus moons Umbriel & Ariel
1968: 199th and final X-15 flight
1998: Deep Space 1 launched
2001: Mars Odyssey arrives at Mars
2007: Chang'e-1 lunar spacecraft launched

Moon phase Sunday 25

1671: Giovanni Cassini discovers Iapetus, moon of Saturn
1877: Henry Norris Russell born
1975: Venera 10 lands on Venus
2006: STEREO spacecraft launched

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