Astronomy can be like a professional sport. It’s fun to watch what’s going on day after day, reading the magazines and web sites for all the current events in astronomy. Big things happen nearly every day. That includes new images brought in from satellites and telescopes, new discoveries about the nature of planets and stars and other objects, as well as breakthroughs and just every day small progress in the tools and techniques used to make these discoveries.
One of the best places to keep up with current events in astronomy is NASA’s web site. NASA both breaks the news and makes the news when it comes to astronomy and space. A quick look at NASA’s web site in mid November revealed some pretty big current events in astronomy.
One of the most important current events in astronomy NASA discussed in November was the late month launch of the shuttle Endeavour. It setout on a mission to refuel the International Space Station. There were a number of spacewalks for routine maintenance outside the station. Space walks not only accomplish a purpose, they teach NASA a lot for the future. The space station is very important for furthering the science of astronomy.
The Hubble telescope chimed in to current events in astronomy with an amazing discovery. For the first time in history, a telescope took a visible light image of a planet orbiting another star. Back in the early 1980s an infrared telescope called IRAS saw dust around the star. Scientists knew this was a sure sign that planets might circle the sun.
This one, still one of the current events in astronomy, is all about the past. The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project is set to restore images taken of the moon by Lunar Orbiter spacecraft in 1966 and 1967. Luckily much of this data had been removed from tape and stored in analog form. Some of these photographs have already been released to the public.
Astronomy is a huge field. Current events in astronomy go on forever. Keep watching!