This Day In Astro History

Orcus and moon Vanth
Artistic represention:
Orcus and Moon Vanth

Giordano Bruno
Giordano Bruno 
(1548 - 1600)

February 17

2011 -  Hubble Telescope releases new image of spiral galaxy NGC2841, which lies 46 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear). The image was taken in 2010.

2007 - Themis Launch  : Understanding Space Weather. Aurora Observer.

2004 - 90482 Orcus discovered by Michael Brown of Caltech, Chad Trujillo of the Gemini Observatory, and David Rabinowitz of Yale University. Orcus is a plutino, locked in a 2:3 resonance with Neptune. Like Pluto, except that it is constrained to always be in the opposite phase of its orbit from Pluto. Orcus has a large Moon, Vanth. Orcus was the Etruscan god equivalent of the Roman Pluto.

1996 - Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) launched from Cape Canaveral. It would conduct the first long-term, close-up study of an asteroid. The mission aims to answer fundamental questions about the nature and origin of the many asteroids  and comets close to Earth's orbit. 

1600 - Giordano Bruno burned at the stake (b. 1548), Dominican and Philosopher, who challenged church doctrine on the origin and structure of the universe, is burned at the stake in Campo dei Fiori. His major metaphysical works, On the Infinite Universe and Worlds and The Infinite (both 1584), drew heavily from Hermetic gnosticism and other works on magic and the occult. Bruno held that there are many possible modes of viewing the world. He was first to propose modern Cosmic Theory.


NEAR mission patch
NEAR Mission Patch
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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