BepiColombo is due to launch on Saturday on an Ariane 5 rocket. The mission will get to Mercury in 2025 helping us learn a lot more about the planet that is the closest to the Sun.
It’s the Winter of the Planets and in the early evening this week you can see Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. Then there is the Lunar Eclipse on Saturday morning as well.
Next year is the 250th anniversary of James Cook’s voyage to the Pacific Ocean. One the things he did was contribute to a more accurate calculation of the distance between the Earth and the Sun by observing the transit of Venus.
The week in space includes the launch of the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket, the planned helicopter for Mars and the BepiColombo mission is getting closer to launch.
In the 1960s and 1970s the Soviet Union and the United States launched a number of spacecraft to Venus that greatly increased our understanding of Earth’s twin.
TESS was launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from SpaceX on 18 April. The satellite will survey the whole sky to look for exoplanets that transit their stars.
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is set for launch on 31 July to begin it’s journey to the Sun’s corona to help us understand more about the solar wind and why the corona is so hot.
We’re doing a weekly update for the night sky, because there’s so many awesome things to look at and a monthly update just doesn’t do justice. This week the planets do a bit of a dance and we get to have a look at some deep sky objects that we haven’t seen for a while.