Celestial events in the skies for the week of July 11-17, 2017 as compiled for The Loafer by Mark D. Marquette.
This is an historic week for NASA achievements in exploration of our Solar System. In 1965, the first closeup photos of Mars showed it was not a lush abode for life. In 1969 the greatest adventure to the Moon began. In 1975 Americans and Russians buried the hatchet in a peaceful handshake in outer space. In 1975 the sky was falling over Australia with America’s first space station. And in 1997 a little rover on Mars captive a world-wide audience, melting down a new thing called the Internet.
Tuesday, July 11
On this 1979 date in space history, America’s first space station, Skylab, reentered Earth, with parts falling in the Western Australia Outback. Made from a Saturn V rocket third stage cylinder, the spacious orbiting outpost was supposed to be serviced by the Space Shuttle, but delays in its development spelled doom for Skylab, which was being pulled back to Earth by gravity. You can buy pieces of Skylab from legitimate space dealers.
Wednesday, July 12
TAs twilight ends around 9 pm, Jupiter is high in the southwest and Saturn is in the southeast rising. Any telescope will show you Jupiter’s moons and the rings of Saturn.
Thursday, July 13
Saturn is in a constellation not acknowledged by the fake science of astrology—Ophiuchus the Serpent Handler. It is between the dot-to-dot stars of Scorpius that looks look like a giant fish hook, and Sagittarius, which looks like a teapot.
Friday, July 14
On this date in space history, space scientists got their first close-up views of Mars and Mercury. In 1965, Mariner IV flew by the Red Planet, taking 21 historic photos that showed a cratered world and no sign of life.
Saturday, July 15
The Moon is in the after-midnight skies, and you can see the Milky Way now spanning across the high eastern sky. The Northern Cross of Cygnus the Swan rides the arm of our Galaxy, while three bright stars make a triangle straddling the bright river of light: Vega, Altair and Deneb.
Sunday, July 16
On this 1969 date in space history, Apollo 11 was launched to the Moon by the three-stage, 365-foot high Saturn V, still the largest rocket ever successfully flown. One million people crowded around the roads of Cape Kennedy to watch the Thursday morning blastoff. Two astronauts would land on the Moon Sunday afternoon.
Monday, July 17
On this 1975 date in space history, three Americans in Apollo and two Russians in Soyuz 19 docked and spent two days in space together in an ultimate act of détente begun by President Richard Nixon. Four decades later, America must depend on the same but upgraded Russian Soyuz spaceship to ferry astronauts and cosmonauts to the orbiting International Space Station.