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NASA-JPL-Caltech - Double the Rubble (PIA11375) (pd).jpg

Space (or outer space) describes the vast empty regions between and around planets and stars. The study of these, and other, astronomical objects is called astronomy, one of the oldest sciences. It is often said that space exploration began with the launch of Sputnik 1, the first man-made object to orbit the Earth. Then, in an almost unbelievable feat of human achievement, in 1969 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin travelled to the Moon and set foot on the surface during the Apollo 11 mission. Recently, it has become clear that the possibility of space colonization may no longer be exclusively reserved for science-fiction stories, and many controversial issues surrounding space have come to light, including commercial spaceflight, space laws and space weapons.

Selected article

Ganymede, as from the Galileo spacecraft in 1996

Ganymede is a moon of Jupiter and the largest moon in the Solar System. Completing an orbit in roughly seven days, it is the seventh moon and third Galilean moon from Jupiter. Ganymede participates in a 1:2:4 orbital resonance with the moons Europa and Io, respectively. It is larger in diameter than the planet Mercury but has only about half its mass. It has the highest mass of all planetary satellites with 2.01 times the mass of the Earth's moon. It is composed primarily of silicate rock and water ice, and a saltwater ocean is believed to exist nearly 200 km below Ganymede's surface. Ganymede is the only satellite in the Solar System known to possess a magnetosphere, likely created through convection within the liquid iron core. The satellite has a thin oxygen atmosphere that includes O, O2, and possibly O3. Ganymede's discovery is credited to Galileo Galilei, who observed it in 1610. The satellite's name was soon suggested by astronomer Simon Marius, for the mythological Ganymede, cupbearer of the Greek gods and Zeus's beloved.

Selected picture

Space Shuttle Columbia at Launch Pad A, Complex 39, 12 April 1981.
Credit: NASA

A timed exposure of the first Space Shuttle mission, STS-1. The shuttle Columbia stands on launch pad A at Kennedy Space Center, the night before launch. The objectives of the maiden flight were to check out the overall Shuttle system, accomplish a safe ascent into orbit and to return to Earth for a safe landing.

Astronomical events

3 June, 12:30 Venus at greatest western elongation
7 June, 12:00 Arietids peak
8 June, 22:05 Moon at apogee
9 June, 13:10 Full moon
13 June Comet Johnson at maximum brightness
15 June, 10:00 Saturn at opposition
16 June, 12:39 Moon occults Neptune
21 June, 04:24 Earth at northern solstice
21 June, 14:12 Mercury at superior conjunction
23 June, 10:45 Moon at perigee
24 June, 02:31 New moon

Space-related portals

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