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May 27, 2019 - Relativity Revisted

Relativity Revisited  Einstein’s 1915 General Theory of Relativity, which predicted that the gravity of a massive object could deflect the path of a passing beam of light, was confirmed 100 years ago this week. During a total solar eclipse, the apparent position of a star near the sun’s edge shifted about two arcseconds due to the Sun’s gravity, just as Einstein predicted. In 2017, astronomers retested this theory using the gravity of a star other than the Sun. Using the Hubble Telescope, they measured the position of a star 5,000 light-years away (small star above) as the white dwarf star Stein 2051 B (just 17 light-years away) passed in front of it over a period of two years. The distant star appeared displaced by two milliarcseconds by Stein 2051 B’s gravity, allowing astronomers to calculate the mass of Stein 2051 B.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, and K. Sahu (STScI)

Weekly Calendar

May 27 - June 2, 2019

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 27

Memorial Day

Neptune 4° north of Moon

2009Soyuz TMA-15 launched carrying ISS Expedition 20/21 crew

Moon phase Tuesday 28

Ceres at opposition

1959: First primates in space, Able and Baker (monkeys), complete suborbital flight
1964: SA-6 launched, second Saturn I Block 2
2013Soyuz TMA-09M launched carrying ISS Expedition 36/37 crew
2014Soyuz TMA-13M launched carrying ISS Expedition 40/41 crew

Moon phase Wednesday 29

1919: Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity tested during total solar eclipse
2009: ISS Expedition 20 begins

Moon phase Thursday 30

Vesta 0.6° south of Moon

1934: Alexi Leonov born
1966: Surveyor 1 launched
1971: Mariner 9 probe launched

Moon phase Friday 31

Uranus 5° north of Moon

1975: European Space Agency formed
1990: Kristall module launched to Mir space station
2008: STS-124 Discovery launched

Moon phase Saturday 1

Venus 3° north of Moon

Moon phase Sunday 2

Pallas appears stationary

1930: Charles “Pete” Conrad born
1966: Surveyor 1 lands on Moon
1970: First glide test of M2-F3 lifting body
1998: STS-91 Discovery launched
2003: Mars Express / Beagle 2 launched

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