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April 3, 2017 - Glowing Jewels in the Galactic Plane

Glowing Jewels in the Galactic Plane  The majority of the stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way, reside in a single huge disk, known as the Galactic Plane, spanning 100,000 light-years across. The Sun also resides in this crowded stellar disk, lying roughly halfway between the galaxy’s center and its outer edges. This disk is filled with a diffuse mixture of gas and dust—the interstellar medium—that pervades space, filling the large gaps found between stars. Occasionally, these clouds of gas and dust cool, becoming denser and denser until they spark star formation, giving rise to new generations of stars. This image from the Herschel Space Observatory shows the sky in infrared light, with warmer star birth regions appearing violet and green, and colder surrounding material appearing red.

Image credit: ESA / PACS & SPIRE Consortium / S. Molinari / Hi-GAL Project

Weekly Calendar

April 3-9, 2017

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 3

First Qtr Moon 2:39 PM ET

1966: Luna 10 becomes first spacecraft to orbit the Moon
1973: Salyut 2 space station launched

Moon phase Tuesday 4

1930: American Rocket Society founded
1968: Apollo 6 launched
1983: STS-6 Challenger launched
1997: STS-83 Columbia launched
2000: First commercial mission to Mir
2011: Soyuz TMA-21 launched carrying ISS Expedition 27/28 crew

Moon phase Wednesday 5

1973: Pioneer 11 launched
1975: Soyuz 18-1, first in-flight abort
1990: Pegsat launched
1991: STS-37 Atlantis launched
2010: STS-131 Discovery launched

Thursday 6

Saturn appears stationary

1965: Early Bird (Intelsat 1) launched
1984: STS-41C Challenger launched

Friday 7

Regulus 0.7° north of Moon
Jupiter at opposition

1991: Compton Gamma Ray Observatory deployed
2001: Mars Odyssey Orbiter launched
2007: ISS Expedition 15 crew launched

Moon phase Saturday 8

1964: Gemini I launched
1966: OAO-1 launched
1993: STS-56 Discovery launched
2002: STS-110 Atlantis launched
2008: ISS Expedition 17 crew launched

Sunday 9

Palm Sunday

Mercury appears stationary

1959: NASA selects original seven Mercury astronauts
1994: STS-59 Endeavour launched

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