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In this month: September

26th September 1905

Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity is published. It is the generally accepted and experimentally confirmed physical theory regarding the relationship between space and time and contains one of the most famous equations, e=mc2, which in simple terms means if you multiply a specific amount of mass by the speed of light squared you get its energy.

5th September 1977

Voyager 1 ( Image above courtesy NASA) is launched from Cape Canaveral to study the outer Solar System. Originally built to last five years it has operated for just on 42 years and still communicates with the Deep Space Network taking 19 hours to transmit data to Earth and will continue to do so until its power supply runs out in about 2025.

It is the most distant man-made object from Earth at a distance of 21.8 billion km from Earth.

10th September 2008

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is switched on and the first beam is successfully steered around its 27km circumference. Situated beneath the France–Switzerland border near Geneva it is the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator. Its main focus of research was to investigate the possible existence of the Higgs boson particle which is predicted by theory but has not yet been observed.


17th September 1764

John Goodricke. English astronomer (Image above from an original pastel in the possession of the Royal Astronomical Society London, courtesy Wiki Commons). A severe illness in early childhood left him deaf. Never robust in health he died at an early age of 21 believed to be from exposure to cold night air while making his observations. His brief career laid the groundwork for much of what is known today about variable stars, particularly Algol (Beta Persei), and Cepheid Variables which enable astronomers to determine the distance to distant galaxies.

23rd September 1791

Johann Encke. German astronomer. He worked on the calculation of the periods of comets and asteroids, measured the distance from the earth to the sun, and made observations of the planet Saturn. He is also known for discovering a division in the outermost ring of Saturn which is named after him - Encke’s Division. He also established methods for calculating the orbits of minor planets and orbits of double stars.

1st September 1859

Richard Carrington. English astronomer. Observed the first solar flare as well as suggesting their electrical influence upon the Earth and its aurorae. He also did extensive work on the motions of sunspots and discovered that the Sun rotates faster at the equator than near the poles, and discovered the movement of sunspot zones toward the Sun’s equator as the solar cycle progresses.

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