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December 8, 2014 - Triple Dose of X-Rays

Triple Dose of X-Rays The European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton telescope, launched fifteen years ago this week, features a trio of precision telescopes that can observe high-energy X-rays. This type of radiation is blocked by Earth’s atmosphere, so the only way to observe it is from an orbiting telescope. XMM-Newton’s highly elliptical orbit takes it almost a third of the way to the Moon, so that astronomers can enjoy long, uninterrupted views of celestial objects. XMM-Newton helped create this first large-scale map of the distribution of dark matter and “normal” matter in the universe. This image shows normal matter (in red) determined mainly by XMM-Newton, dark matter (in blue) and the stars and galaxies (in grey) observed in the optical band with the Hubble telescope.

Image credit: NASA / R. Massey (Caltech) / ESA

Weekly Calendar

December 8-14, 2014

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 8

Mercury in superior conjunction

1964: Apollo A-002 launched
1990: Galileo makes first Earth flyby on way to Jupiter
1992: Galileo makes second Earth flyby on way to Jupiter
2010:
SpaceX Dragon 1 launched; first private spacecraft recovered from orbit

Moon phase Tuesday 9

Jupiter appears stationary
Ceres in conjunction with Sun

1978: Pioneer-Venus 2 probes enter atmosphere of Venus
2006: STS-116 Discovery launched

Moon phase Wednesday 10

1963: Dyna-Soar project canceled
1999: Newton X-Ray Multi-Mirror Telescope launched

Moon phase Thursday 11

Jupiter 5° north of Moon

1863: Annie Jump Cannon born
1972: Apollo 17 lands on Moon
1993: Sotheby’s holds first auction of Soviet space hardware & artifacts

Moon phase Friday 12

Moon at apogee

1961: OSCAR 1 launched, first amateur radio satellite
1970: Italian ground crew becomes first to launch satellite for America, Explorer 42

Moon phase Saturday 13

Geminid meteor shower

2001: Final drop test of the X-38 Crew Return Vehicle prototype

Moon phase Sunday 14

Last Qtr Moon 7:51 AM ET
Juno appears stationary
Geminid meteor shower

1546: Tycho Brahe born
1962: Mariner 2 first planet flyby (Venus)
1972: Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan becomes last human to walk on Moon
2013: Chang'e-3 spacecraft lands on Moondeploys Yutu rover

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