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June 13, 2016 - A Magnetic Monster

A Magnetic Monster  Gigantic tendrils of glowing gas reach tens of thousands of light-years out into space from the active galaxy NGC 1275, the brightest X-ray source in the night sky. Located 230 million light-years away, NGC 1275 dominates the Perseus Cluster of galaxies, its cosmic tentacles a testament to the immense magnetic fields generated by the supermassive black hole at its core. We know how magnetism and electric fields are inherently related thanks to the work of Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell, born 185 years ago this week. Maxwell’s research unified theories of electrical charges, magnetic fields, and radiation, leading to (among much of the technology we use today) our understanding of how electromagnetic waves—including visible light—travel through space. 

Image credit: NASA / ESA / Andy Fabian (University of Cambridge, UK)

Weekly Calendar

June 13-19, 2016

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

Moon phase Monday 13

1831: James Clerk Maxwell born
1974: National Space Society founded
1983: Pioneer 10 leaves solar system, begins traveling in interstellar space
2010: Hayabusa spacecraft returns first asteroid samples to Earth
2012: NuSTAR X-Ray telescope launched

Moon phase Tuesday 14

Flag Day

Neptune appears stationary

1967: Mariner 5 launched
1975: Venera 10 launched
1985: Vega 2 deploys lander and balloon on Venus

Moon phase Wednesday 15

Moon at apogee

1971: First Titan III-D rocket launch
2010: Soyuz TMA-19 launched carrying ISS Expedition 24/25 crew

Moon phase Thursday 16

1963: Vostok 6 launched; Valentina Tereshkova first woman in space, still the only solo spaceflight by a woman
2012: Shenzhou 9 launched, fourth Chinese human space flight

Moon phase Friday 17

Mars 7° south of Moon

1985: STS-51G Discovery launched

Moon phase Saturday 18

Pallas appears stationary
Saturn 3° south of Moon

1799: William Lassell born
1983: STS-7 Challenger launched; Sally Ride becomes first American woman in space
2009: Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) launched

Moon phase Sunday 19

Father's Day

Mercury 4° north of Aldebaran

1999: QuikSCAT launched

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