Astro Anniversaries


Day Year Event
1 1818 Maria Mitchell born. She became the first woman in the USA to work as a professional astronomer and astronomy professor.
3 1596 David Fabricius, working in what is now Germany, made the first recorded observation of a variable star – the star was Mira (α Ceti).
8 1989 The European Space Agency launched Hipparcos, the first space telescope devoted to the precise measurement of the positions of celestial objects.
9 1911 William Fowler born. A nuclear astrophysicist, Fowler led a team that, for the first time, showed the pathways by which stars build up the heavier elements in the universe. He received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983.
11 1877 American astronomer Asaph Hall discovers Deimos – the smaller of Mars’ two tiny moons – at the US Naval Observatory.
12 1919 Margaret Burbidge born.  A British astronomer who contributed to the study of galaxies, quasars and the formation of the elements.  Burbidge became the first woman to use the largest telescope in the world at that time – the 200″ Hale Telescope on Mount Palomar – for independent research.
14 1959 The US Explorer 6 satellite took the first (black & white) images of Earth from orbit.
17 1877 American astronomer Asaph Hall discovered Phobos – the larger of Mars’ two tiny moons – at the US Naval Observatory.
17 2017 The LIGO/Virgo collaboration both observed gravity waves coming from the same object.
18 1868 During a total eclipse of the sun, several observers used a spectroscope to examine the spectrum of the sun and find a bright unknown line, which pointed to a new element which was later named Helium after the Greek ‘helios’ for ‘sun’.
19 1646 John Flamsteed born. Flamsteed became the first Astronomer Royal for England.  He assembled important catalogues of brighter stars, predicted and observed eclipses, and became the first astronomer to observe Uranus, although he mistook it for a star.
22 1834 Samuel Langley born.  Langley was an American astronomer and inventor. He fostered a way of marking standard time through astronomical observations, invented the bolometer, and made pioneering studies of the sun.
28 1789 William Herschel discovered Saturn’s intriguing moon Enceladus.
28 1912 George Alcock born.  He was a British amateur astronomer and one o the most successful visual observers of novae and comets.
30 1844 Francis Baily died.  He was a British astronomer and most famous for his observations of “Baily’s beads” during a total eclipse of the Sun. Baily was also a major figure in the early history of the Royal Astronomical Society, as one of the founders and as the President four times.

LAST UPDATED: 2023-08-03