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July 31, 2020

13th August 1898

The asteroid Eros is discovered by the German astronomer Gustav Witt at the Urania Observatory in Berlin, and independently on the same day by Auguste H.P. Charlois in Nice, France.

The asteroid, or to give its minor planet designation, 433 Eros, is approximately 16.8 km in diameter, rotates once every 5...

June 30, 2020

4 July 1054

Chinese astronomers notice a star explode becoming a supernova in the constellation Taurus. It remained visible in the night sky for 653 days. The remnant of that exploding star is what we now know as the Crab Nebula. The supernova shone roughly four times brighter than Venus and for a while was the third-br...

May 31, 2020

2 June 1966   

Surveyor 1, the first of the Surveyor robotic spacecraft, soft lands on the Moon. It was the first American spacecraft to achieve a soft landing on an extra-terrestrial body. NASA’s Surveyor Program sent seven robotic spacecraft to the surface of the Moon, its primary goal was to demonstrate the feas...

April 30, 2020

13 May 1861

John Tebbutt discovers the Great Comet of 1861, also known as Comet C/1861 J1, one of the most brilliant comets known. He sent letters to the Government Astronomer at Sydney Observatory, Rev. William Scott, and to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper advising of his find. However, at the time there was no mea...

March 31, 2020

12 April 1633

The inquisition of Galileo by the Roman Catholic church begins. He was ordered to turn himself in to the Holy Office to begin trial for holding the belief that the Earth revolves around the Sun, which was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church. He was found guilty and agreed to stop teaching and spent the...

March 1, 2020

7 March 1831

The Royal Astronomical Society receives its Royal charter from King William IV. The society was founded in 1820 as the Astronomical Society of London to promote astronomical research. At that time, most members were 'gentleman astronomers' rather than professionals. In 1915 A Supplemental Charter granted by...

December 31, 2019

7 January 1610

Galileo discovers four moons orbiting the planet Jupiter. Looking at what he thought were a group of stars, he noted the objects appeared to move in a regular pattern and realised they were in orbit around Jupiter. Today, Jupiter’s four largest satellites—Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto—are named the G...

November 30, 2019

11th December 1972

Apollo 17, the last of the Apollo missions, lands on the Moon. Eugene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, still holds the distinction of being the last man to walk on the Moon as no humans have been back since. The mission carried the only trained geologist to walk on the lunar surface, Lunar Module Pilot...

November 1, 2019

27th November 1783

The first reference to black holes is mentioned by John Michell, an English natural philosopher, in a paper for the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. He called them "dark stars". Michell suggested that there might be many "dark stars" in the universe, and today astronomers bel...

September 30, 2019

EVENTS

31st October 1992

Pope John Paul II pardons Galileo for his views. The Catholic church condemned Galileo in 1633 for his subversive views, namely that the Earth revolved around the Sun. He lived under house arrest for the rest of his life. Pope John Paul II formally apologized for the "Galileo Case" in the first o...

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June 30, 2020

April 30, 2020

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