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1968 – NASA launches Apollo 6

4 April

Apollo 6, launched on this day in 1968, was the second A type mission of the United States Apollo program, an unmanned test of the Saturn V launch vehicle. It was also the final unmanned Apollo test mission. Continue reading “1968 – NASA launches Apollo 6”

1981 – The Osborne 1 is unveiled

3 April

The Osborne 1 was the first commercially successful portable microcomputer, released on this day in 1981 by Osborne Computer Corporation. Continue reading “1981 – The Osborne 1 is unveiled”

1997 – The Comet Hale–Bopp has its closest approach to Earth

22 March

Comet Hale–Bopp was perhaps the most widely observed comet of the 20th century and one of the brightest seen for many decades. It was visible to the naked eye for a record 18 months, twice as long as the previous record holder, the Great Comet of 1811. Continue reading “1997 – The Comet Hale–Bopp has its closest approach to Earth”

2008 – GRB 080319B: A cosmic burst that is the farthest object visible to the naked eye is briefly observed

19 March

GRB 080319B was a gamma-ray burst (GRB) detected by the Swift satellite at 06:12 UTC on this day in 2008. The burst set a new record for the farthest object that was observable with the naked eye: it had a peak visual apparent magnitude of 5.8 and remained visible to human eyes for approximately 30 seconds. The magnitude was brighter than 9.0 for approximately 60 seconds. Continue reading “2008 – GRB 080319B: A cosmic burst that is the farthest object visible to the naked eye is briefly observed”

1942 – The first V-2 rocket test launch

16 March

The V-2 (Vergeltungswaffe 2, “Retribution Weapon 2”), technical name Aggregat-4 (A-4), was the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile. The missile with a liquid-propellant rocket engine was developed during the Second World War in Germany as a “vengeance weapon,” designed to attack Allied cities as retaliation for the Allied bombings against German cities. The V-2 rocket also became the first artificial object to cross the boundary of space with the vertical launch of V-177 on 20 June 1944. Continue reading “1942 – The first V-2 rocket test launch”

1918 – The first case of Spanish flu occurs

11 March

The 1918 flu pandemic (January 1918 – December 1920) was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic, the first of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus. It infected 500 million people across the world, including remote Pacific islands and the Arctic, and resulted in the deaths of 50 to 100 million (three to five percent of the world’s population), making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. Continue reading “1918 – The first case of Spanish flu occurs”

1909 – Ernest Shackleton’s expedition finds the magnetic South Pole

16 January

Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton (15 February 1874 – 5 January 1922) was a polar explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic, and one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. Continue reading “1909 – Ernest Shackleton’s expedition finds the magnetic South Pole”

Titan (the moon)

Titan (or Saturn VI) is the largest moon of Saturn. It is the only natural satellite known to have a dense atmosphere, and the only object other than Earth where clear evidence of stable bodies of surface liquid has been found. Continue reading “Titan (the moon)”

1870 – Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge begins

3 January

The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge in New York City and is one of the oldest bridges of either type in the United States. Continue reading “1870 – Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge begins”

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