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December 31, 2018 - Galactic Gathering

2018 Week 01 c

Galactic Gathering  At this time of year, holiday parties often include festive lights. When galaxies get together, they also may be surrounded by a spectacular light show. That’s the case with NGC 2207 and IC 2163, located 130 million light-years away in the constellation of Canis Major. These spiral galaxies, caught in a grazing encounter, have hosted three supernova explosions in the past 15 years and have produced one of the most bountiful collections of super bright X-ray lights known. These special objects—known as ultraluminous X-ray sources (ULXs)—have been found using data from NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory. This composite image shows X-ray data in pink, optical-light data from Hubble in blue, white, orange and brown, and infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope in red.

Image credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/STScI/JPL-Caltech

Weekly Calendar

December 31, 2018 - January 6, 2019

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History

 

Moon phase Monday 31

New Year's Eve

1864: Robert Aitken born
2004: Cassini makes first flyby of Iapetus

Moon phase Tuesday 1

New Year's Day

Venus 1.3° south of Moon

1801: Giuseppe Piazzi discovers asteroid Ceres

Moon phase Wednesday 2

Saturn in conjunction with Sun

1900: Leslie Peltier born
1920: Isaac Asimov born
1959: Luna 1 is first spacecraft to leave Earth’s gravitational field
1972: Mariner 9 begins mapping Mars
2004: Stardust encounters Comet Wild 2

Moon phase Thursday 3

Earth at perihelion
Jupiter 3.1° south of Moon
Quadrantid meteor shower

1962: NASA publicly announces and names Gemini program
2004: Mars rover Spirit lands

Moon phase Friday 4

Quadrantid meteor shower

1797: Wilhelm Beer born
1970: NASA cancels Apollo 20 Moon landing mission

Moon phase Saturday 5

New Moon 8:28 PM ET
Partial Solar Eclipse (visible from northeast Asia, north Pacific)

1969: Venera 5 launched
1972: President Nixon announces approval to develop the Space Shuttle
2005: UB313 (Eris) discovered, ignites the Pluto-Planet debate

Moon phase Sunday 6

Venus at greatest elongation (47° W)

1998: Lunar Prospector launched

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