February 9, 1913. On this date, a strange meteor sighting occurred over Canada, the U.S. Northeast, Bermuda and some ships at sea, including one off Brazil. What happened that night is sometimes called the Great Meteor Procession of 1913, and it sparked decades of debate concerning what actually happened.
This Date in Science
January 28, 1986. On today’s date 30 years ago, the Space Shuttle Challenger (mission STS-51-L) exploded and broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, after an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff. The explosion led to the deaths of all seven Challenger crew members.
January 16, 1909. On this date, three members of an Ernest Shackleton expedition to Antarctica – Edgeworth David, Douglas Mawson and Alistair Mackay – raised a British flag and recorded the moment by photograph at what they thought was Earth’s South Magnetic Pole. It wasn’t until several years later that the team began to have doubts.
January 4, 1643. English physicist and mathematician Isaac Newton was born on this date. He is remembered as one of the world’s greatest scientists, because his insights laid a foundation for our understanding of celestial motion, light and gravity.
Click inside for a video visualization of events leading to one of the iconic photographs of the 20th century – Earth rising over the moon – as seen by Apollo 8 astronauts.
November 20, 1889. Happy birthday, Edwin Hubble! The Hubble Space Telescope is named for this astronomer. How did this honor come to be? Hubble’s work was pivotal in changing our entire cosmology: our idea of the universe as a whole.
November 16, 1974. This is the anniversary of the most powerful broadcast ever deliberately beamed into space with the intention of contacting alien life. Some applauded this event as a mind-expanding attempt to remind people in 1974 that Earth is likely not the only planet where an intelligent civilization has evolved. At the time, others felt we shouldn’t be attempting to reveal Earth’s location in space to unknown alien civilizations.
October 12, 1915. One hundred years ago today, the Scottish-born astronomer Robert Innes, at the Union Observatory in Johannesburg, South Africa announced the discovery of what we now know as the next-nearest star to our sun.
October 12, 1999. On this date, the world’s human population was estimated to hit 6 billion, according to the United Nations. In 2011, global population reached 7 billion mark. Today – October 12, 2015 – it stands at more than 7.3 billion, according to United Nations estimates.