April 23 – AGILE

AGILE (Astro‐rivelatore Gamma a Immagini Leggero) was launched April on 23rd, 2007.  AGILE is an Italian satellite, and is armed with x- and gamma ray imagers, a calorimeter (basically a device for measuring heat), and an anticoincidence system (a means whereby unwanted background events that would interfere with the results of the other detectors are suppressed, and it’s all getting a bit complicated, so I’ll stop there).

Also today, asteroid 1225 Ariane was discovered in 1930 by the Dutch astronomer Hendrik van Gent.  This is the first mention of Dr van Gent in these pages.  He discovered quite a few asteroids, but his contribution to astronomy was cut short by his sudden and untimely death at the age of 47.


The name relates to a character in Gabriel Marcel’s exploration of good and evil, Le Chemin de Crête.