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December 10, 2018 - An Astronomical Achievement

An Astronomical Achievement  Developing a scheme to categorize the countless stars in the sky was a daunting task, but it was accomplished by one of the most famous women astronomers, Annie Jump Cannon, born 155 years ago this week. A Wellesley graduate, Cannon joined the Harvard College Observatory staff in 1896 to help develop a meaningful way to classify stars according to their spectra. For the next forty years, Cannon studied spectroscopic images of over 250,000 stars and devised the O,B,A,F,G,K,M system of classifying stars that is still in use today. Her work was eventually published in the nine-volume Henry Draper Catalog (named after the project benefactor).  Seen here, a variety of stars of many different spectral types are visible within the swaddling dust of the Serpens Cloud Core.

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/2MASS

Weekly Calendar

December 10 - 16, 2018

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 10

1963: Dyna-Soar project canceled
1999: Newton X-Ray Multi-Mirror Telescope launched

Moon phase Tuesday 11

1863: Annie Jump Cannon born
1972: Apollo 17 lands on Moon
1993: Sotheby’s holds first auction of Soviet space hardware & artifacts

Moon phase Wednesday 12

Moon at apogee

1961: OSCAR 1 launched, first amateur radio satellite
1970: Italian ground crew becomes first to launch satellite for America, Explorer 42
2017: North Korea launches first satellite, KMS 3-2

Moon phase Thursday 13

Geminid meteor shower

2001: Final drop test of the X-38 Crew Return Vehicle prototype

Moon phase Friday 14

Neptune 3° north of Moon
Mars 4° north of Moon
Geminid meteor shower

1546: Tycho Brahe born
1962: Mariner 2 first planet flyby (Venus)
1972: Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan becomes last human to walk on Moon
2013: Chang'e-3 spacecraft lands on Moondeploys Yutu rover

Moon phase Saturday 15

First Qtr Moon 6:49 AM ET
Mercury at greatest elongation (21° W)

1965: Gemini VI launched
1970: Venera 7 makes first landing on Venus
1984: Vega 1 launched to study Venus and Halley’s Comet
2003: National Air & Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center opens
2010: Soyuz TMA-20 launched carrying ISS Expedition 26/27 crew
2015: Soyuz TMA-19M launched carrying ISS Expedition 46/47 crew
2017: SpaceX CRS-13 launched, first flight to ISS of previously flown orbital booster and Dragon capsule

Moon phase Sunday 16

1857: E. E. Barnard born
1965: Pioneer 6 launched
1976: Last two Saturn V moon rockets donated to museums

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