Bi-Weekly Roundup: May 5, 2017

This is our weekly roundup for May 5, 2017. Over the past two weeks, there were many stories published in national new sites about astronomy-related events. In case you missed them, here are some of our highlights:

Featured Story: 534 Days in Space


“Peggy Whitson Breaks Another Record in Space” by Neeti Upadhe with NY Times

Published on 4/24/17

Astronaut Peggy Whitson has spent over 534 days in space, breaking the record for the most time in space spent by an American. Among her achievements, Whitson was the first woman to command the International Space Station (twice) and she also holds the record for most spacewalks by a female astronaut. President Trump, First Daughter Ivanka Trump and former astronaut Kate Rubins called Whitson from the White House to congratulate her on the record-breaks as well as her triumphs in paving the way from women in science and space exploration.

Further resource: “NASA Astronaut Peggy Whitson Talks STEM Education with President Trump” by NASA on 4/24/17

Lizard Stars!


“Hubble’s bright shining lizard star” by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center on

Published on 4/28/17

Hubble Space Telescope has imaged a galaxy named NGC 7250 found in the constellation Lacerta, or “The Lizard.” The nicknamed was further extended to the galaxy because there are records of burst star formations and supernova explosions, but more importantly because the galaxy seamlessly blends into the background of another star. The star contaminating the galaxy’s light is a million times closer to Earth than NGC 7250, which is 45 million light-years away.

Spy Satellites

“SpaceX makes first US military launch, then lands rocket again” by

Published on 5/1/17

The private company SpaceX made its first military launch on Monday, May 1. The satellite, NROL-76, was a secretive U.S. spy government satellite and was paid for by the National Reconnaissance Office. Prior to this launch, SpaceX has continuously sent unmanned cargo ships to the International Space Station, but this private company is also aimed for sending humans into orbit and later, Mars.

Saturn’s Rings

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

“Cassini’s Images From Inside Saturn’s Rings” by Jonathan Corum on NY Times

Published on 5/1/17

At the end of April this year, NASA’s Cassini Mission began its final descent towards Saturn. The spacecraft is now inside Saturn’s rings and has been sending back amazing images of the planet’s rings and atmosphere. These images are some of the first detailed images of the gaseous planet and its’ rings, and they are truly spectacular.

Small Magellanic Cloud

“VISTA peeks through the Small Magellanic Cloud’s dusty veil” by ESO on

Published on 5/3/17

The dwarf galaxy “Small Magellanic Cloud” and its twin “Large Magellanic Cloud” are our closest companions in space. The SMC is the smaller of the two and is around 200,000 light-years away. Astronomers study these galaxies to observe how stars form and evolve, but these galaxies are complex, with lots of galactic dust, and are difficult to image clearly.