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November 30, 2020 - Shining a Light on Dark Matter

Shining a Light on Dark Matter  Dark matter makes up most of the material in the universe, while ordinary matter, which makes up stars and planets, comprises only a few percent of the material in the universe. Although dark matter itself cannot be observed directly, its existence in a galaxy cluster can be inferred by observing how its gravity bends the light of more distant background galaxies. The Hubble Space Telescope observed galaxy cluster CI 0024+17, some 5 billion light-years away, and discovered not only dark matter, but also its unexpected distribution in a ghostly ring shape, most likely caused by the long-ago collision of two clusters of galaxies. Nearly every object in the above image is a galaxy, with blue representing the distribution of the dark matter that distorts those background galaxies.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, M.J. Jee and H. Ford (Johns Hopkins University)

Weekly Calendar

November 30 - December 6, 2020

Holidays - Sky Events - Space History


Moon phase Monday 30

Full Moon 4:30 AM ET (Penumbral eclipse)

1954: Elizabeth Hodges bruised by a ten-pound meteorite in Alabama
2000: STS-97 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Tuesday 1

1957: Ballistic shape of Mercury spacecraft proposed by Max Faget
2013: Chang'e-3 spacecraft launched to Moon

Moon phase Wednesday 2

1974: Pioneer 11 closest approach to Jupiter during flyby
1988: STS-27 Atlantis launched
1990: STS-35 Columbia launched on Astro-1 mission
1992: STS-53 Discovery launched
1993: STS-61 Endeavour launched
1995: SOHO launched

Moon phase Thursday 3

1973: Pioneer 10 closest approach to Jupiter during flyby
2014: Hayabusa 2 launched on asteroid sample return mission
2018: Soyuz MS-11 launched carrying ISS Expedition 57/58 crew
2018: OSIRIS-REx spacecraft arrives at asteroid Bennu

Moon phase Friday 4

1639: First transit of Venus observed
1965: Gemini VII launched
1978: Pioneer-Venus 1 orbiter arrives in orbit around Venus
1996: Mars Pathfinder launched
1998: STS-88 Endeavour launched

Moon phase Saturday 5

2001: STS-108 Endeavour launched
2014: Orion spacecraft launched on first uncrewed test flight

Moon phase Sunday 6

1998: Unity and Zarya modules are connected to form International Space Station core
2015: Akatsuki probe begins orbiting Venus

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