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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

The 2004 transit of Venus

A transit of Venus across the Sun takes place when the planet Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth, becoming visible against the solar disk. During a transit, Venus can be seen from Earth as a small black disk moving slowly across the face of the Sun. A transit is similar to a solar eclipse by the Moon, but while the diameter of Venus is more than three times that of the Moon it is much further from Earth and so appears smaller and generally takes longer (up to eight hours) to travel across the solar disk. Transits of Venus are among the rarest of predictable astronomical phenomena—they occur in a pattern that repeats every 243 years, with pairs of transits eight years apart separated by long gaps of 121.5 years and 105.5 years. The last transit of Venus was on 5 and 6 June 2012; the next will be 10–11 December 2117. Historically, Venus transits were of great scientific importance as they were used to gain the first realistic estimates of the size of the solar system. The 2012 transit provided scientists with a number of other research opportunities, particularly in the refinement of techniques to be used in the search for exoplanets.

Selected picture

Sombrero Galaxy
Credit: NASA / STScI

The Sombrero Galaxy is a spiral galaxy in the Virgo constellation. It was discovered in the late 1700s. It is about 28 million light years away and is just faint enough to be invisible to the naked eye but easily visible with small telescopes. In our sky, it is about one-fifth the diameter of the full moon. M104 is moving away from Earth at about 1,000 kilometers per second.

Space news

Wikinews Space Portal
  • March 27: President Trump tells NASA to aim for Mars
  • January 18: Former NASA astronaut Eugene Cernan dies aged 82
  • October 3: Twelve-year journey of Rosetta ends; spacecraft crashes into comet
  • July 6: Final panel added to China's FAST radio telescope
  • July 6: NASA's Juno spacecraft enters Jupiter orbit
  • May 9: NASA releases first topographical map of Mercury
  • October 31: NASA releases complete image of Pluto's crescent
  • October 9: After Mars, NASA announces water ice on Pluto
  • October 1: NASA announces water on Mars
  • July 17: NASA's New Horizons space probe performs first close planetary flyby of Pluto
  • January 30: Scientists find ancient solar system in Milky Way galaxy
  • January 11: SpaceX launches fifth resupply rocket to International Space Station

Upcoming spaceflight launches

The next scheduled launch is of of the SES S.A.'s SES 10 communications satellite on a Falcon 9 Full Thrust rocket. Launch from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39 is scheduled for 30/31 March 2017.
The next scheduled manned launch is of Soyuz MS-04 on a Soyuz-FG rocket, carrying two Expedition 51 crew members to the International Space Station. Launch from Baikonur Site 1/5 is scheduled for 27 March 2017.
For a full launch schedule see 2017 in spaceflight

Astronomical events

1 April, 10:18 Mercury at greatest eastern elongation
7 April Comet 41P/Tuttle–Giacobini–Kresák at max brightness
7 April, 21:39 Jupiter at opposition
11 April, 06:08 Full moon
14 April Uranus at conjunction
15 April, 09:57 Moon at apogee
20 April, 05:54 Mercury at inferior conjunction
22 April, 14:00 Lyrids peak
22 April, 19:49 Moon occults Neptune
26 April, 12:16 New moon
27 April, 16:08 Moon at perigee

Space-related portals

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