Astro Anniversaries


Day Year Event
3 1951 Gibor Basri born. American astronomer and expert on star formation and brown dwarfs.
5 1965 Bertrand Peek died.  A British amateur astronomer. Peek was a member of the BAA and observer of the planets Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, serving as a director of each of the related BAA Observing Sections, as well as becoming BAA President (1938-40). In 1958 he published The Planet Jupiter, a treatise on the giant planet based on visual observations of the planet by the Jupiter Section of the BAA.
9 1937 David (Dave) Gavine born. A  keen and well-known Scottish amateur astronomer, Dave was a teacher by profession (and later a lecturer) and primarily an observer of aurorae and noctilucent clouds. A keen interest in the history of astronomy resulted in his being awarded a doctorate in the subject.  He was a Founder Member and Honorary President of Dundee Astronomical Society, and also served as President of the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh.
10 1900 Cecilia Payne Gaposchkinborn. She showed that the stars are made mostly of hydrogen and helium, in what some have called “the most brilliant PhD thesis ever written in astronomy.”
11 1916 Karl Schwarzschild died.  The Schwarzschild Radius (which is named after him) is the radius below which the gravitational attraction between the particles of a body will cause it to undergo irreversible gravitational collapse. This phenomenon is thought to be the final fate of a massive star, resulting in the formation of a Black Hole.
11 1924 Antony Hewish born. British astronomer who built the radio telescope with which
Jocelyn Bell and he discovered pulsars. Hewish famously received the Nobel Prize in 1974.
15 1836 During an annular eclipse of the sun, British astronomer Francis Baily first saw the phenomenon now known as Baily’s Beads – the round “droplets” of sunlight that filter through the mountains and valleys seen on the edge of the Moon during a solar eclipse..
15 1857 Williamina Fleming born.  A Scotish/American astronomer.  She was hired by the Director of the Harvard College Observatory to help in the photographic classification of stellar spectra. She helped develop a common designation system for stars and catalogued more than 10,000 stars, 59 gaseous nebulae, over 310 variable stars, and 10 novae and other astronomical phenomena. Williamina Fleming is noted for her discovery of the Horsehead Nebula in 1888.
16 1925 Nancy Grace Roman born. An American astronomer and NASA official who is often called “The Mother of the Hubble Space Telescope”.
17 1836 Norman Lockyer born. British astronomer and spectroscopist, and the discoverer of the element Helium.
19 1885 Thomas Webb born.  An English astronomer who is best known today for writing his classic astronomical observing guide Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes in 1859 for which he is best known today.
21 1911 Williamina Fleming died.  A Scottish/American astronomer. She helped develop a common organisation system for stars. She also kept track of thousands of stars and other astronomical items Fleming discovered the Horsehead Nebula in 1888
22 1920 Thomas Gold born. Austrian-born British astronomer.  During the late 1940s, in collaboration with Hermann Bondi and Fred Hoyle, Gold formulated the steady-state theory, of which Hoyle became the leading proponent. Later evidence, however, contradicted this theory and instead supported the big-bang model.
26 1826 Richard Carrington born. British amateur astronomer. His 1859 astronomical observations demonstrated the existence of solar flares as well as suggesting their electrical influence upon the Earth and its aurorae. His 1863 records of sunspot observations revealed the differential rotation of the Sun.
28 1930 Frank Drake born.  An American astrophysicist and astrobiologist. He began his career as a radio astronomer, studying the planets of the Solar System and later pulsars. Drake expanded his interests to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), beginning with Project Ozma in 1960, which was an attempt at extra-terrestrial communications. He developed the Drake equation which attempts to quantify the number of intelligent lifeforms that could potentially be discovered.
29 1919 Images taken during a total eclipse of the Sun on this day are used by a team led by Arthur Eddington to demonstrate the “bending of light” (really the bending of space-time) near the Sun, as predicted by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. At the time, the eclipse itself had the longest duration for the total phase of any eclipse in over 500 years

LAST UPDATED: 2023-05-04