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February 19, 2018 - Little Green Men?

Little Green Men?  Fifty years ago this week, the discovery of an entirely new class of astronomical objects was announced. Jocelyn Bell, a graduate student at Cambridge University, was using a radio telescope to map the location of twinkling quasars when she came across a distant source of unusually regular radio waves—so regular, in fact, that she jokingly dubbed it “LGM” because it might have been produced by Little Green Men. In reality, she had been the first to observe a pulsar, a rapidly spinning neutron star that emits a beam of energy much like a lighthouse. Numerous pulsars have been discovered since then, including 1E 1613, located within the supernova remnant RCW 103, about 9,000 light years away. At nearly seven hours between pulses, 1E 1613 is the slowest spinning pulsar known.

Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/University of Amsterdam/N.Rea et al; Optical: DSS

Weekly Calendar

February 19 - 25, 2018

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 19

Presidents' Day

1473: Nicholas Copernicus born
1986: Mir space station launched

Moon phase Tuesday 20

Uranus 5° north of Moon

1962: Friendship 7 launched; John Glenn becomes first American to orbit Earth
1965: Ranger 8 impacts the Moon, returns photographs
1994: Clementine enters lunar orbit

Moon phase Wednesday 21

1931: Germany's first liquid-fuel rocket launched by VfR flies 3m (10 ft)

Moon phase Thursday 22

1966: Cosmos 110 launched, sets record for dogs in space (22 days)
1978: First Navstar GPS satellite launched
1996: STS-75 Columbia launched

Moon phase Friday 23

First Qtr Moon 3:09 AM ET
Aldebaran 0.7° south of Moon

1987: Supernova 1987a explodes
1990: Pioneer 11 leaves solar system
1997: Flash fire in Mir Kvant module

Moon phase Saturday 24

1968: Discovery of first pulsar announced
1969: Mariner 6 launched
2007Rosetta spacecraft flies by Mars
2011: STS-133 Discovery launched

Moon phase Sunday 25

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