On September 2, 2022, Frank Drake, the American astronomer, and astrophysicist (b. May 28, 1930) died at his home in Aptos, California, from natural causes at the age of 92.
Category Archives: Astronomy
Pioneer 11 performed the first Saturn flyby on September 1, 1979
On September 1, 1979, NASA’s Pioneer 11 spacecraft performed the first Saturn flyby in the history of space exploration, at a distance of 21,000 km (13,000 miles) from Saturn’s cloud tops.
Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft in interstellar space on August 25, 2012
On August 25, 2012, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft crossed the heliopause, the theoretical boundary of our solar system where the Sun’s solar wind is stopped by the interstellar medium, and became the first spacecraft in interstellar space.
Voyager 2 performed the first Neptune flyby on August 25, 1989
On August 25, 1989, Voyager 2 performed a close Neptune flyby, giving humanity its first close-up of the eighth (and the outermost) planet of our solar system. Neptune was the spacecraft’s final planetary target. That first Neptune flyby was also the last: No other spacecraft has visited Neptune since.
Voyager 2 was launched on August 20, 1977
On August 20, 1977, Voyager 2 was launched from Cape Canaveral on top of a Titan IIIE-Centaur rocket. It launched before Voyager 1, which was sent into space on September 5, 1977.
Here’s why Betelgeuse dimmed in 2019
In 2019, red supergiant star Betelgeuse suddenly dimmed. In fact, the star has a 5.9-year light-cycle minimum period. But, this time, it dramatically to an all-time low. Betelgeuse is one of the brightest stars in the Earth’s sky and easily can be found on the right shoulder of the constellation Orion. So the dimming, which …
ESA’s Giotto became the first spacecraft to use Earth for a gravity assist on July 2, 1990
On July 2, 1990, European Space Agency’s (ESA) Giotto spacecraft performed the first-ever earth gravity-assisted maneuver to be retargeted for its destination, Comet P/Grigg-Skjellerup.
Cassini entered Saturn’s orbit on July 1, 2004
NASA’s Cassini space probe entered Saturn’s orbit on July 1, 2004, and became the first spacecraft to orbit the ringed planet.
Tunguska meteorite impacted on June 30, 1908
On June 30, 1908, at about 7:14 A.M., around the Tunguska River, a gigantic fireball devastated hundreds of square kilometers of uninhabited Siberian forest. It was about a ~12 megaton explosion, which means the blast was around 800 times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.
Charon, Pluto’s Moon was discovered on June 22, 1978
On June 22, 1978, Pluto’s moon Charon was discovered by United States Naval Observatory astronomer James Christy (born September 15, 1938).