September 21, 2009 - Holst, Bringer of Music

Holst, Bringer of Music Born 135 years ago this week, English composer Gustav Holst holds a special place in the hearts, and ears, of astronomers. Although he wrote almost 200 orchestral suites, operas, ballets, concertos, choral hymns, and songs, his signature piece is indisputably the seven-movement orchestral suite, The Planets, first performed publicly in 1918. Each movement corresponds to a planet and its associated mythological and astrological characteristics: Mars, the Bringer of War; Venus, the Bringer of Peace; Mercury, the Winged Messenger; Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity; Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age; Uranus, the Magician; and Neptune, the Mystic. The menacing shadow in this image belongs not to an aggressive Martian ready to wage war, but rather to the Mars rover Opportunity.

Image credit: NASA/JPL

Weekly Calendar

September 21-27, 2009

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 21

Juno at opposition

1866: H. G. Wells born
: Gustav Holst born
1974: Mariner 10 flies by Mercury for second time
2003: Galileo mission ends

Moon phase Tuesday 22

Fall Equinox 5:19 pm

1990: Pioneer 10 reaches 50 AU from Sun
: Hinode spacecraft launched

Moon phase Wednesday 23

1783: Caroline Herschel discovers NGC 253
1846: J. G. Galle discovers Neptune
1962: “The Jetsons” premieres
1977: Third glide test of space shuttle Enterprise

Moon phase Thursday 24

Antares 0.8° south of Moon

1930: John Young born
1962: MOOSE astronaut rescue system proposed
1970: Luna 16 returns lunar soil samples
1999: IKONOS-1 launched

Moon phase Friday 25

1973: 59-day Skylab 3 mission ends
1992: Mars Observer launched
1997: STS-86 Atlantis launched
2008: Shenzhou 7 launched

Moon phase Saturday 26

First Quarter Moon 12:50 am

Moon phase Sunday 27

Yom Kippur begins at sunset

1814: Daniel Kirkwood born
2007: Dawn spacecraft launched

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