Astro Anniversaries


Day Year Event
1 1859 Richard Carrington and Richard Hodgson independently observed the first solar flare in recorded history, observing a dramatic brightening in a projected image of the Sun. This is during a huge magnetic storm on the Sun, which led to noticeable effects on Earth now known as the Carrington Event.
2 1804 German astronomer Karl Harding discovered the third known asteroid, Juno. At first, it was considered to be a planet, but as the number of asteroid discoveries continued to grow, they are re-classified as minor planets.
2 2022 Frank Drake died.  He was an American astrophysicist and astrobiologist, and became famous for the Drake Equation which can be used to estimate the number of active, communicative extraterrestrial civilizations in our galaxy.
3 1932 Gerry Neugebauer born. He was a pioneering infrared astronomer and a key figure in infrared telescope design, surveys, and discoveries.
7 1914 James Van Allen born.  His satellite-borne instruments discover the Van Allen radiation belts around the Earth and other planets.
11 1877 James Jeans born. His work as an astronomer contributed to our understanding of how stars form and evolve, and how energy is transported through them.
13 1959 The Russian Luna 2 probe impacted the surface of the Moon, becoming the first human-made object to make contact with another world.
14 2015 The first gravitational wave event was discovered by the two LIGO stations on opposite sides of the USA. It came from the merger of two massive black holes.
17 1789 William Herschel discovered Saturn’s moon Mimas. Mimas has a giant crater (about 1/3 the diameter of the Moon) which has been named Herschel.
23 1846 Johann Galle discovered Neptune, based on positions calculated by Urbain LeVerrier. This was the first planet found through mathematical predictions, based on Newton’s laws of motion and gravity.
24 1970 The Russian Luna 16 mission achieved the first automated return of samples from another world back to Earth in 1970. Material from the moon lands safely in Kazakhstan.
25 1644 Ole Roemer born. , He was a Danish astronomer and made the first measurement of the speed of light.
27 1918 Sir Martin Ryle born. HE was a pioneering radio astronomer and builder of radio telescopes. For his work on surveys of the radio universe and new techniques for radio measurements, he shared the first Nobel Prize in physics given for astronomical experiments in 1974.
28 1860 Paul Villard born.  He discovered gamma-rays.
30 1880 Henry Draper took the first-ever photograph of a nebula (the Orion Nebula, M42).

LAST UPDATED: 2023-08-31