|Maria Mitchell born. She became the first woman in the USA to work as a professional astronomer and astronomy professor.
|David Fabricius, working in what is now Germany, made the first recorded observation of a variable star – the star was Mira (α Ceti).
|The European Space Agency launched Hipparcos, the first space telescope devoted to the precise measurement of the positions of celestial objects.
|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.
|American astronomer Asaph Hall discovers Deimos – the smaller of Mars’ two tiny moons – at the US Naval Observatory.
|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.
|The US Explorer 6 satellite took the first (black & white) images of Earth from orbit.
|American astronomer Asaph Hall discovered Phobos – the larger of Mars’ two tiny moons – at the US Naval Observatory.
|The LIGO/Virgo collaboration both observed gravity waves coming from the same object.
|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’.
|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.
|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.
|William Herschel discovered Saturn’s intriguing moon Enceladus.
|George Alcock born. He was a British amateur astronomer and one o the most successful visual observers of novae and comets.
|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