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March 16, 2020 - Lost in the Glare

Lost in the Glare  This Spitzer Space Telescope infrared view of spiral galaxy M31 in Andromeda also shows, at upper left, its less famous dwarf elliptical companion galaxy M110. Often overlooked, M110 shares a certain kinship with the astronomer who independently discovered it in 1783, ten years after Charles Messier first did. Caroline Herschel, born 270 years ago this week, was the sister of William Herschel, discoverer of Uranus. She spent most of her life as William’s apprentice, performing tedious calculations on his behalf, yet she managed to establish herself as an accomplished astronomer in her own right. She was the first woman to discover a comet (she found eight in all), she compiled catalogs of stellar observations, and she documented every discovery that she and William made.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / P. Barmby (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA)

Weekly Calendar

March 16 - 22, 2020

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 16

Last Qtr Moon 5:34 AM ET

1750: Caroline Herschel born
1926: Robert Goddard launches first liquid fuel rocket
1966: Gemini VIII launched
1975: Mariner 10’s 3rd Mercury flyby

Moon phase Tuesday 17

St. Patrick’s Day

1930: Jim Irwin born
1958: Vanguard 1 launched, first solar-powered satellite
1972: NASA issues request for proposals for Space Shuttle
2011: MESSENGER becomes first spacecraft to orbit Mercury

Moon phase Wednesday 18

Mars 0.7° N of Moon
Jupiter 1.5° N of Moon
Saturn 2° N of Moon

1965: Voskhod 2 launched, Alexei Leonov takes world’s first spacewalk
1980: Soviet rocket explosion kills 50 workers at Plesetsk launch pad
2016Soyuz TMA-20M launched carrying ISS Expedition 47/48 crew

Moon phase Thursday 19

Equinox 11:50 PM

1970: First powered flight of X-24A lifting body

Moon phase Friday 20

Mars 0.7° south of Jupiter

Moon phase Saturday 21

Mercury 4° north of Moon

1866: Antonia Maury born
: Ranger 9 launched
2018: Soyuz MS-08 launched carrying ISS Expedition 55/56 crew

Moon phase Sunday 22

1982: STS-3 Columbia launched
1996: STS-76 Atlantis launched
1997: Comet Hale-Bopp closest approach to Earth

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