In this month - June
03 June 1769 the transit of Venus was observed from Tahiti and recorded by Captain James Cook, astronomer Charles Green, botanist Joseph Banks and artist Daniel Solander. The Transit of Venus was crucial in helping to establish the size of the solar system. By noting the start and stop times of the transit from widely spaced locations on Earth astronomers can calculate the distance to Venus using the principles of parallax. The scale of the rest of the solar system would follow. After the transit Cook had instructions to sail south in search of the “Great Southern Continent”. He mapped the east coast of Australia in 1770.
16 June 1963 Valentina Tereshkova, Russian cosmonaut, becomes the first female to travel into space aboard Vostok 6. She spent almost 3 days in space orbiting the Earth 48 times.
22 June 1978 Pluto’s moon Charon is discovered. It is the largest of Pluto’s moons and is named after the mythological ferryman of Hades who carried the souls of the dead across the river Styx. Pluto and Charon orbit a common centre of gravity. As they move they keep the same face toward each other because they are tidally locked.
08 June 1625 Giovanni Cassini. Italian astronomer, mathematician and engineer. He discovered four moons of Saturn and noted the division in the planet’s rings. The Cassini Division is named after him.
24 June 1929 Carolyn Shoemaker. American astronomer and co-discoverer of Comet Shoemaker-Levy. Along with her husband Gene Shoemaker she discovered many comets.
26 June 1730 Charles Messier. French astronomer. Noted for publishing a catalogue of Nebulae and star clusters known as Messier objects. The purpose of the catalogue was to help
astronomers searching the sky for comets distinguish between these objects.