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October 21, 2019 - Land of Lakes

Land of Lakes  When the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft flew by Saturn in 1980 and 1981, they were able to pay only fleeting attention to Titan, the solar system’s second largest moon (larger even than Mercury) and the only solar system moon with an appreciable atmosphere. Titan’s atmosphere has long intrigued scientists, who speculated that it created conditions sufficient to support lakes of liquid methane on Titan’s surface. Fifteen years ago this week, the Cassini spacecraft made the first of dozens of close flybys of Titan, some bringing the spacecraft (and its cloud-penetrating radar) to within a few hundred kilometers of the moon. Subsequent flybys of Titan, particularly one in 2006 that created this false-color radar view, provided definitive evidence for large bodies of liquid methane on the surface.

Image credit: NASA / JPL

Weekly Calendar

October 21 - 27, 2019

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 21

Last Qtr Moon 8:39 AM ET
Orionid meteor shower

1923: First public planetarium show, Deutsches Museum in Munich
: Hubble Heritage Project website launched
2008: Chandrayaan-1 lunar probe launched

Moon phase Tuesday 22

Orionid meteor shower

2136 BCE: First record of solar eclipse
1905: Karl Jansky born
1966: Luna 12 launched
1975: Venera 9 orbits Venus
1992: STS-52 Columbia launched

Moon phase Wednesday 23

1968: First powered flight of the HL-10 lifting body
2007: STS-120 Discovery launched
2012: Soyuz TMA-06M launched carrying ISS Expedition 33/34 crew

Moon phase Thursday 24

1851: William Lassell discovers Uranus moons Umbriel & Ariel
1946: First photo of Earth taken from space
: 199th and final X-15 flight
1998: Deep Space 1 launched
2001: Mars Odyssey arrives at Mars
2007: Chang'e-1 lunar spacecraft launched

Moon phase Friday 25

1671: Giovanni Cassini discovers Iapetus, moon of Saturn
1877: Henry Norris Russell born
1975: Venera 10 lands on Venus
2006: STEREO spacecraft launched

Moon phase Saturday 26

Moon at perigee
Mars 5° south of Moon

1977: Fifth and final glide test of Space Shuttle Enterprise
2004: Cassini spacecraft completes first flyby of Titan

Moon phase Sunday 27

New Moon 11:38 PM ET

1961: SA-1 launched, first Saturn rocket
2003: ISS Expedition 7 crew returns to Earth after 184 days in orbit

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