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How Pluto got its name

Eleven-year-old Venetia Burney suggested Pluto, a classical mythological god of the underworld. The name also honored Percival Lowell, whose early efforts led to Pluto’s discovery.

Happy birthday, Albert Einstein

Born on this date in 1879, Einstein changed our notions of space, time and matter – launched modern physics – and became a household name.

Today in science: Breakup of an asteroid

Scientists watched as, over a period of months, the asteroid known as P/2013 R3 broke into smaller pieces.

Happy birthday, Nicolaus Copernicus

Why do we love him? Because he broke open the medieval idea of an enclosed, Earth-centered universe and set us on course for a new cosmology.

Today is Chuck Yeager’s 95th birthday

Chuck Yeager, first pilot to break the sound barrier, personified what it meant to have “the right stuff.”

Today in science: Isaac Newton’s birthday

Born in 1643, Isaac Newton’s insights laid a foundation for our modern understanding of celestial motion, light and gravity.

Today in science: Edwin Hubble and the expanding universe

Learn why the Hubble Space Telescope is named for this astronomer.

Today in science: 1st intentional radio message to space

What do you think? Should we be advertising our presence in space?

Today in science: The Day of 6 Billion

Global population reached 6 billion in 1999 and 7 billion in 2011. Today – October 12, 2017 – it stands at about 7.6 billion, according to United Nations estimates.

Today in science: Proxima Centauri

Astronomers announced the discovery of Proxima Centauri – next-nearest to our sun – on this date in 1915.

Today in science: 1st planet orbiting a sunlike star

On October 6, 1995, astronomers announced 51 Pegasi b, a planet about half the mass of Jupiter, orbiting a star not unlike our sun.

Today in science: 1st footsteps on moon

Today is the 48th anniversary of humanity’s historic first steps on the moon. The story in pictures, here.

Today in science: 1st Telstar launch

Telstar was the 1st satellite to relay television signals between Europe and North America. It launched on this date … and helped change the world.  

Tunguska explosion

We celebrate Asteroid Day on June 30 because it’s the anniversary of a 1908 explosion over Siberia that killed reindeer and flattened trees.

Today in science: Kennedy’s moon speech

On May 25, 1961, John F. Kennedy gave a stirring speech to a joint session of Congress, inspiring a nation to land humans on the moon with a decade.

Today in science: 1st American in space

Alan Shepard became the 1st American in space on May 5, 1961. His suborbital flight took place just 3 weeks after the Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagarin orbited Earth once.

April 3 is John Burroughs’ birthday

John Burroughs – born in 1837 – was one of the first nature writers. He was the first to say, “I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”

Today in science: Great Alaska earthquake

The earthquake – centered in Prince William Sound off the coast of south-central Alaska – was the most powerful yet recorded in North America at magnitude 9.2.

Today in science: Discovery of Uranus

It was the first planet found since ancient times. William Herschel noticed it in 1781 during a routine survey of the stars.

Today in science: Yuri Gagarin’s birthday

Yuri Gagarin was a Russian pilot who became the first human to travel to space, in 1961. His story … plus links to a Yuri’s Night near you.

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