Babe Among the Stars: Major Tim Back Home

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Galaxy Babe's column banner, showing a full moon and some little folk looking up at the sky

Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth - Ptolemy

Major Tim back home

After his first six-month stint on board the ISS, Major Tim Peake returned to Earth in mid-June. During his time in space Tim performed the first spacewalk by a UK astronaut, which wasn't without high drama when he had to take charge of the mission outside the ISS after his fellow spacewalker reported that there was water in his helmet. Tim ran the London Marathon on his treadmill, which was also a first, concurrently with the actual marathon (UK time as he was still orbiting the Earth while running). In all he completed 2,976 orbits of Earth, during which he was reporting to his fans on his Twitter account, with accompanying photos of our beautiful planet. The distance covered while Tim was on board the space station was probably about 125 million km. Once he was in the plane heading towards a family reunion, Tim was delighted to be offered a 'British cup of tea' which was more preferable to the food on offer, on account of him still feeling a bit queasy. Welcome home, Major Tim, have a well-earned rest!

The best ride I've been on, ever!

- Major Tim Peake describing his journey back to Earth

Juno at Jupiter

NASA's Juno duly arrived at Jupiter on 4 July and successfully established its orbit. The mission team were delighted and The Sky at Night presenters were there to record the celebrations. Stay tuned for updates on the interesting data to come!

August 2016 Diary Dates

The best of the Perseids meteor shower will be around 12 August, but any clear night around that time should reward you with bits of cosmic dust left behind by comet Swift-Tuttle, aka 'shooting stars'.

  • 01: All four Galilean moons will be on one side of Jupiter
  • 02: The 88m-asteroid 2016 NX22 will pass Earth beyond the orbit of the Moon
  • 02: New Moon
  • 03: The 28m-asteroid 2005 OH3 will pass Earth beyond the orbit of the Moon
  • 04: The Moon passes 3° south of Venus
  • 04: The Moon passes 0.6° south of Mercury
  • 05: Venus passes 1.1° north of Regulus (alpha Leonis)
  • 06: The Moon passes 0.2° south of Jupiter
  • 06: All four Galilean moons will be on one side of Jupiter
  • 09: The Moon is at apogee
  • 11: The Moon passes 8° north of Mars
  • 11/12: Perseids meteor shower
  • 12: The Moon passes 4° north of Saturn
  • 12: The 1km-asteroid 2000 DP107 will pass Earth beyond the orbit of the Moon
  • 13: All four Galilean moons will be on one side of Jupiter
  • 15: All four Galilean moons will be on one side of Jupiter
  • 18: Full Moon - the Sturgeon, Red or Fruit Moon
  • 18: Penumbral lunar eclipse
  • 19: The Moon passes 1.1° north of Neptune
  • 21: All four Galilean moons will be on one side of Jupiter
  • 21: The Moon is at perigee
  • 22: The Moon passes 3° south of Uranus
  • 23: Mars passes 1.8° north of 1st magnitude Antares (alpha Scorpii)
  • 23: Mercury, Jupiter and Venus form a triangle just after sunset (western horizon)
  • 25: The Moon passes 0.2° north of Aldebaran (alpha Tauri)
  • 25: Mars passes 4° south of Saturn
  • 27: All four Galilean moons will be on one side of Jupiter
  • 27: Mercury passes 5° south of Venus
  • 27: Venus and Jupiter will be very close together in the dawn sky

  • Chat about your celestial observances at the H2G2 Astronomy Society. Comment on anything in this edition of Babe Among the Stars by starting a new conversation below.

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