Coming Full Circle: October 21, 2013

Show notes for the 21st of October 2013

Hosts: Ryan, Hugh, Pat
Title: Coming Full Circle

This week in space/astronomy history:
1. October 23, 2013 – Planck satellite shuts off forever! Today (Oct. 21), ESA ordered Planck to run its thrusters to empty. After years hovering at a Lagrange point, the telescope will be put in a ‘parking orbit’ to circle the sun, keeping it away from the Earth and moon for at least several centuries. The last command will be sent Oct. 23. Among other milestones, Planck released a cosmic map in March refining the Universe’s age to 13.82 billion years. (Suggested Reading: Universe Today article)

2. October 24, 1946 – The first photo of Earth from space was taken. The black-and-white photos were taken from an altitude of 65 miles (104 km), above the commonly accepted boundary of space at 100 kilometres, by a 35-millimeter motion picture camera on a V-2 missile launched from the White Sands Missile Range. The rocket-borne camera climbed straight up, then fell back to Earth … the camera itself was smashed, but the film, protected in a steel cassette, was unharmed. (Suggested Reading: Air & Space)

3. October 1923 – First public planetarium show, Deutsches Museum in Munich

4. October 22, 1905 – Karl Jansky born, father of radio astronomy

5. October 22, 2136 BC – The first documented solar eclipse. Two astronomers in ancient China (astrologers, back then) were beheaded for failing to predict a solar eclipse (they were too fond of drink, hence they are informally known as Hi & Ho the drunk astronomers). Identifications of this event have varied from 2165 – 1948 BCE, though the favoured date is October 22, 2137 BCE.  The emperor became very unhappy because, without knowing that there was an eclipse coming, he was unable to organize teams to beat drums and shoot arrows in the air to frighten away the invisible dragon. (Suggested Reading: Astronomy Today article)

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