August 15, 2011 - Royal Astronomer

Royal Astronomer John Flamsteed holds an important place in astronomical history as the first Astronomer Royal, a post he held for over four decades until his death, at which time he was succeeded by Sir Edmund Halley. Born 365 years ago this week, Flamsteed was a remarkable observational astronomer whose precise measurements of the positions of stars led to the publication, posthumously, of both a highly accurate catalog of star locations (many stars are still referred to by their “Flamsteed” numbers) and the Atlas Coelestis. The latter, an illustrated atlas of the heavens, was notable because it was at the time the largest format pictorial star atlas ever published. In honor of Flamsteed’s contributions to astronomy, both an asteroid and the large lunar crater in this image bear his name.

Image credit: NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University

Weekly Calendar

August 15-21, 2011

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 15

Moon phase Tuesday 16

Venus in superior conjunction
Mercury in inferior conjunction

1963: M2-F1 lifting body makes first glide flight after being towed aloft by a C-47

Moon phase Wednesday 17

Uranus 6° south of Moon

1966: Pioneer 7 launched
1970: Venera 7 launched
2006: Voyager 1 is 100 AU from Earth

Moon phase Thursday 18

Moon at apogee

1868: Total solar eclipse leads to discovery of helium
1877: Asaph Hall discovers Phobos
1960: Discoverer XIV launched, first successful US photo reconnaissance satellite
1993: First DC-X flight
1999: Cassini spacecraft flies by Earth

Moon phase Friday 19

1646: John Flamsteed born
1891: Milton Humason born
1982: Soyuz T-7 launched, Svetlana Savitskaya is second woman in space

Moon phase Saturday 20

Jupiter 5° south of Moon

1953: First Redstone rocket launched
1960: Sputnik 5 launched
1975: Viking 1 launched
1977: Voyager 2 launched

Moon phase Sunday 21

Last Quarter Moon 5:54 PM ET

1965: Gemini V launched
1972: OAO-3 launched
2002: First Atlas V rocket launched

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