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Kevin M. Berg

Astronomy News

In The News This Month

Some On-Line Programs well worth a look: Astronomy at the Beach and McDonald Observatory Programs
Save the date for Astronomy at the Beach, 2021: September 24th and 25th. To see the complete lineup of AATB zoom programs from last year click Here.  

To see current and archived McDonald Observatory programs click Here. (Be sure to scroll down.) 

June 17th: Chinese space station "Tiangong"receives first astronauts!
Three Chinese astronauts lifted off today and successfully docked at Tianhe, the 55 foot long core module of the Chinese Tiangong (Heavenly Peace) space station. If you are like me and were focused on the NASA Perseverance and Marscopter events this Spring, you can catch up with the news of the April launch and description of the Chinese space station Here with this article from the "Universe Today" web site.

June 25th: Hubble trouble from June 13th is not yet resolved.
News agencies around the world are buzzing about the possibility that NASA will not be able to pull the rabbit out of the hat this time. For a less sensational report, Click Here for the full NASA news release.

July 4th: Anniversary of first U.S. Mars rover!
Mars Pathfinder was launched December 4, 1996 and landed on Mars' Ares Vallis on July 4, 1997. It was designed as a technology demonstration of a new way to deliver an instrumented lander and the first-ever robotic rover to the surface of the red planet. Pathfinder not only accomplished this goal but also returned an unprecedented amount of data and outlived its primary design life. Click Here for the full NASA news release of this anniversary.

July 5th: Earth is at aphelion!
On average, Earth is about 93 million miles from the sun. Today, Earth is at its farthest point from the sun, just over 94.5 million miles away! The tilted axis of the Earth is the reason for the seasons, not the proximity of the Earth to the sun!

July 8th: Hubble Tests Looking Good!
Tests this week to restore Hubble to full operation were successful. NASA hopes to implement the backup hardware around July 15th. Stay tuned!

July 13th: Venus and Mars Conjunction!
Mars and the stars of Leo will soon fall below the Western horizon. A grand farewell occurs low on the Western horizon just after sunset on July 13th when, sharing the same Right Ascension, Venus passes North of Mars at a slim 29 arcminutes. On July 11th and 12th look for the first glimpses of the July crescent moon nestled with Venus and Regulus.

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