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April 11, 2016 - Action on a Comet

Action on a Comet  Thirty years ago this week, the well-known Halley’s Comet made its most recent close pass by Earth, a highly-anticipated event witnessed by people around the world. Halley is a short-period comet, currently taking about 76 years to complete one of its retrograde orbits around the Sun. It was Edmond Halley who, in 1705, first determined that comets—like the one bearing his name—are periodic and can have their orbits calculated. On August 6, 2014,  the European Space Agency’s Rosetta became the first spacecraft to enter orbit around a comet: 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a short-period comet that only takes 6.5 years to journey around the Sun. This view of dust jets erupting on 67P as it gets closer to the Sun was acquired by Rosetta in March 2015 from about 86.6 km (54 miles) away.

Image Credit: ESA / Rosetta / NAVCAM

Weekly Calendar

April 11-17, 2016

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Monday 11

1960: Project Ozma started
1970: Apollo 13 launched
1980: Viking 2 lander mission ends
1984: Challenger retrieves Solar Max
1986: Halley’s Comet closest to Earth

Tuesday 12

Yuri's Night World Space Party

1961: Yuri Gagarin first human in space
1981: STS-1 Columbia launched
1985: STS-51D Discovery launched

Wednesday 13

First Qtr Moon 11:59 PM ET

Thursday 14

1629: Christiaan Huygens born
1972: KSC and Vandenberg AFB picked as shuttle launch sites
1981: STS-1 Columbia lands
2005: Expedition 11 crew launched to International Space Station

Friday 15

1999: Landsat 7 launched

Saturday 16

Mars appears stationary

1867: Wilbur Wright born
: First captured V2 rocket launched from White Sands, NM
1965: First test-firing of Saturn V rocket first stage (S-IC)
1972: Apollo 16 launched

Sunday 17

1967: Surveyor 3 launched
1969: First X-24A lifting body glide test
1970: Apollo 13 crew returns to Earth
1998: STS-90 Columbia launched

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