This Day In Astro History


July 22

1999 - Torino Impact Hazard Scale announced. In order to reduce media and public frenzy scientists met in Torino, Italy (IUA June 99) and established a risk assessment scale that will be useful in assigning risk values to objects near Earth. The scale will run from zero to 10.  An object with a value of zero or one will have virtually no chance of causing damage on Earth; a 10 means a certain global climatic catastrophe. The scale was created by Dr. Richard P. Binzel, professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT in Cambridge, MA. 

1784 - Freidrich Bessel's Birthday, German astronomer and mathematician, who was the first ever, in 1837, to measure a star's parallax. (The star was 61 Cygni and the parallax was a mere 1/3rd of an arc-second). This ended a debate that dated back two millenia to the Greeks (Aristotle) about the distances to the stars. Bessel is also remembered for the mathematical functions that bear his name, which appear in many areas of mathematical physics.

solar eclipse 2009 - A total eclipse of the Sun was visible from within a narrow corridor that traverses half of Earth. The path of the Moon's umbral shadow began in India and crossed through Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and China. After leaving mainland Asia, the path crossed Japan's Ryukyu Islands and curved southeast through the Pacific Ocean where the maximum duration of totality reached 6 min 39 s.
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It is my conclusion that human evolution and the motions of matter in space are intrinsically linked. The observation and understanding of the complexity of biological history on Earth cannot be complete without the tandem observation and understanding of a dynamic greater cosmos. - SpaceGene