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September 15, 2014 - Big Bang

Big Bang The impact that created the Herschel crater on Saturn’s moon Mimas nearly destroyed that moon entirely. Mimas is 396 km (246 mi) across, yet Herschel crater spans an astounding 130 km (80 mi), a significant portion of the satellite. A crater of similar proportions on Earth would be 4,000 km (2,600 mi) in diameter—wider than Canada—with walls 200 km (120 mi) high. With its steep walls and prominent central peak, Herschel crater makes Mimas take on the appearance, under certain lighting conditions, of the Death Star from Star Wars. This color-enhanced image, taken during the Cassini spacecraft’s closest-ever flyby of Mimas in 2010, shows contrast between the bluish materials in and around Herschel crater and the greenish cast on older, more heavily-cratered terrain elsewhere.

Image credit: NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute

Weekly Calendar

September 15-21, 2014

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 15

Last Qtr Moon 10:05 PM ET

1965: “Lost in Space” premieres
1968: Zond 5 launched, first circumlunar spaceflight with living creatures (tortoises)

Moon phase Tuesday 16

1848: First observation of Hyperion, moon of Saturn
1996: STS-79 Atlantis launched

Moon phase Wednesday 17

1789: William Herschel discovers Mimas
1857: Konstantin Tsiolkovsky born
1930: Ed Mitchell born
1959: First powered flight of X-15
1976: First rollout of space shuttle Enterprise

Moon phase Thursday 18

1964: Saturn SA-7 launched
1977: Voyager 1 takes photo of Earth and Moon together in space
2006: Anousheh Ansari becomes first woman space tourist
2013: Cygnus 1 supply ship launched to ISS

Moon phase Friday 19

Moon phase Saturday 20

Jupiter 5° north of Moon
Moon at apogee
Mercury 0.6° south of Spica

1945: Wernher von Braun arrives in United States
1966: Surveyor 2 launched
1970: Luna 16 lands on Moon
1979: HEAO-3 launched
1988: Israel launches its first satellite

Moon phase Sunday 21

Mercury at greatest elongation (26° E)

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

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