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April 25, 2016 - A Dark Galactic Dustball

A Dark Galactic Dustball  Nine thousand light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia, a pink glow from ionized hydrogen in the emission nebula NGC 281 provides an illuminated backdrop for an opaque cloud that lies in front of it. Once thought to be “holes in space,” these dark blotches are now understood to be clumps of condensing dust and gas within which stars eventually form. They are known as Bok globules, after the famously good-natured American astronomer Bart J. Bok, born in the Netherlands 110 years ago this week. Bok’s research focused on the evolution and structure of the Milky Way and the enigmatic dark clouds that now bear his name. With his wife, Priscilla, Bok wrote many popular astronomy books. He was also a renowned skeptic and debunker of astrology.

Image credit: NASA / ESA / The Hubble Heritage Team STScI/AURA)

Weekly Calendar

April 25 - May 1, 2016

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Monday 25

Mars 5° south of Moon
Saturn 3° south of Moon

1962: Second Block I Saturn C-1 (SA-2) launched
1990: Hubble Space Telescope deployed
2003: ISS Expedition Seven crew launched on Soyuz TMA-2

Moon phase Tuesday 26

Juno at opposition

1920: Shapley-Curtis debate on the nature and distance of spiral nebulae
1993: STS-55 Columbia launched

Wednesday 27

Thursday 28

1900: Jan Oort born
1906: Bart Bok born
Eugene Shoemaker born
STS-39 Discovery launched
Soyuz TM-32 launched; Dennis Tito becomes first space tourist
GALEX launched
CloudSat and CALIPSO launched

Friday 29

Last Qtr Moon 11:29 PM ET
Mercury appears stationary

1985: STS-51B Challenger launched

Saturday 30

Sunday 1

1949: Gerard Kuiper discovers Nereid, moon of Neptune
1996: Comet Hyakutake closest approach to Sun

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