This Day In Astro History

Vela A/B
Vela (5 A/B)in the cleanroom

July 2

2013 The International Astronomical Union names Pluto's fourth and fifth moons, Kerberos(discovered by Mark R. Showalter the Pluto Companion Search Team using the Hubble Space Telescope on 28 June 2011, verified on July 20, 2011)and Styx (also discovered by Showalter, using fourteen sets of Hubble Space Telescope images taken between 26 June and 9 July 2012).

1985 - The Giotto spacecraft was launched on a mission to fly by Halley's comet and send back the first pictures of a comet's center. Giotto's encounter with Halley came on Mar. 13, 1986 at a distance of 596 km (370 miles). Giotto also studied Comet P/Grigg-Skjellerup during its extended mission.

1978 - James Christy obtained a photograph of Pluto that was distinctly elongated. Repeated observations of this shape and its variation were convincing evidence of the discovery of a satellite of Pluto, now named Charon.

1967 - Unrecognized at the time, the "first observed gamma-ray burst" was recorded. (Klebesadel) The Vela 4 A and B data was used to construct a time history of this event (published in Scientific American, Oct. 1976.) No earlier observation of a similar event is known.

1621 - Death of Thomas Harriot, English Astronomer, Mathematician, known for, among other things, creating images from what he saw in a telescope, several months before Galileo. He created a moon map in 1611, and described observations of Jupiter's satellites, and sunspots.

Thomas Harriot
Thomas Harriot
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It is my conclusion that human evolution and the motions of matter in space are intrinsically linked. The observation and understanding of the complexity of biological history on Earth cannot be complete without the tandem observation and understanding of a dynamic greater cosmos. - SpaceGene