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March 2, 2015 - Shadows That Shed Light

Shadows That Shed Light   Astronomers have found cosmic clumps so dark, dense, and dusty that they throw the deepest shadows ever recorded. Infrared observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope of these blackest-of-black regions in a cloud of gas and dust paradoxically help explain how the brightest stars form. The large cloud looms in the very center of this image of the galactic plane. A new study takes advantage of the shadows cast by the cloud’s darkest clumps to measure the cloud’s overall structure and mass. The dusty cloud, the results suggest, will likely evolve into one of the most massive young clusters of stars in our galaxy. The densest clumps will blossom into the cluster’s biggest, most powerful stars, called O-type stars, the formation of which has long puzzled scientists.

Image credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech

Weekly Calendar

March 2-8, 2015

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 2

1972: Pioneer 10 launched
1995: STS-67 Endeavour launched (Astro-2 mission)
2004: Rosetta cometary probe launched

Moon phase Tuesday 3

Jupiter 5° north of Moon

1959: Pioneer 4 launched
1969: Apollo 9 launched

Wednesday 4

Venus 0.1° north of Uranus

1979: Jupiter’s rings discovered
1994: STS-62 Columbia launched

Thursday 5

Moon at apogee
Full Moon 1:06 PM ET

1512: Gerardus Mercator born
1978: Landsat 3 launched
1979: Voyager 1 flies by Jupiter
1982: Venera 14 lands on Venus, returns color photos of Venus’s surface

Friday 6

1787: Joseph Fraunhofer born
1986: Vega 1 flies by Halley’s Comet
2009: Kepler Observatory launched
2015: Dawn becomes first spacecraft to orbit dwarf planet Ceres

Saturday 7

1792: John Herschel born
1837: Henry Draper born
1962: OSO-1 launched
1969: Apollo 9 astronauts complete first solo flight of lunar module

Sunday 8

Daylight Saving Time begins 2:00am

1979: Active volcanoes found on Io
2001: STS-102 Discovery launched
2007: Orbital Express launched
2008: First Automated Transfer Vehicle launched

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