June 21 – OSO-8

OSO-8 (known as OSO-I until launch) was the eighth Orbiting Solar Observatory launched by NASA. Lift-off was by a Delta 1910 launch vehicle on June 21st 1975. OSO-8 lived until October 1st 1978.


I love these 1960′s and 1970′s NASA artists impressions. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t give you any idea of the scale; it looks like it might have been free in a box of corn flakes. To give you an idea, the “wheel” section at the bottom is about 6 feet across. And it spins! It’s like something Gerry Anderson would invent for “UFO”.

As well as being a solar observatory, there were four other experiments on board to study cosmic rays. Highlights of the mission include the detection of black body spectra for X-ray bursts, and iron line detection in the X-ray spectra of a cluster of galaxies.

1863 – Where would I be without this guy? German astronomer and astrophotographer Max Wolf was born today in 1863, and as any regular visitor to this site will know, he was a phenomenal discoverer of asteroids, with an enormous 248 finds, from 323 Brucia on December 22nd 1891 (named after an American patron of astronomy), to 5926 Schönfeld (a German astronomer) on August 4th 1929.

Keen eyed astronomer, Max Wolf.
Keen eyed astronomer, Max Wolf.

Wolf was also a noted spotter of comets, and was the first person to see Halley’s Comet in 1910.

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