40th Rocket Lab Electron Mission, “We Love The Nightlife”, Launches From New Zealand with Reused Engine

Rocket Lab’s 40th Electron mission, “We Love The Nightlife”, lifted-off from New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula on August 24th at 11:45 am NZST (August 23rd at 7:45pm EST). (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Private space company, Rocket Lab, launched its 40th Electron mission on their lauded Electron rocket, dubbed “We Love The Nightlife”, on August 24th at 11:45am New Zealand Standard Time (August 23rd at 7:45pm EST), which also marks the 7th launch of 2023, all successful. The purpose of the mission was to deliver the next-generation Acadia satellite for Capella Space to a circular orbit above the Earth at 640 km (400 miles), which was executed flawlessly. Acadia is part of Capella’s synthetic aperture radar (SAR) constellation and is the first of four Acadia satellites that Rocket is currently contracted to launch for Capella.

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The Constellation Auriga

The northern constellation Auriga, showing the brightest stars of Capella, Menkalinan, and proximate Deep Sky Objects. Credit: stargazerslounge.com

Welcome back to Constellation Friday! Today, in honor of our dear friend and contributor, Tammy Plotner, we examine the Auriga constellation. Enjoy!

In the 2nd century CE, Greek-Egyptian astronomer Claudius Ptolemaeus (aka. Ptolemy) compiled a list of the then-known 48 constellations. His treatise, known as the Almagest, would serve as the authoritative source of astronomy for over a thousand years to come. Since the development of modern telescopes and astronomy, this list has come to be expanded to include the 88 constellation that are recognized by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) today.

One of these is the constellation of Auriga, a beautiful pentagon-shaped collection of stars that is situated just north of the celestial equator. Along with five other constellations that have stars in the Winter Hexagon asterism, Auriga is most prominent during winter evenings in the Northern Hemisphere. Auriga also belongs to the Perseus family of constellations, together with Andromeda, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Cetus, Lacerta, Pegasus, Perseus, and Triangulum.

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