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Space History for October 17


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1604
German astronomer Johannes Kepler first observed an exceptionally bright star in the constellation Ophiuchus, a supernova. After studying it for a year, the star was named for him, not because he was the first to see it.

Kepler's Star: German astronomer Johannes Kepler observed that an exceptionally bright star had suddenly appeared in the constellation Ophiuchus, which turned out to be the last supernova directly observed in our own galaxy, the Milky Way, as of 2016. Supernova 1604 was subsequently named after him since he studied it for a year, not because he first saw it.



Illustration from Kepler's book De Stella Nova in Pede Serpentarii (On the New Star in Ophiuchus's Foot) showing the 1604 supernova's location
from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kepler_Drawing_of_SN_1604.png
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kepler's_Supernova

1855
Sir Henry Bessemer received a patent for a steelmaking process in which air is blasted into to molten wrought iron to remove impurities, the first patent defining the "Bessemer process."
https://searchinginhistory.blogspot.com/2015/06/the-bessemer-process-process-that-made.html

1879
J Palisa discovered asteroid #207 Hedda.

1887
Died, Gustav Kirchoff, discoverer of laws of spectroscopy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gustav_Kirchhoff

1888
Thomas Edison filed a patent for the Optical Phonograph (the first movie).
https://books.google.com/books?id=hv3zAwAAQBAJ&pg=PA30&lpg=PA30&dq=edison+Optical+Phonograph+patent+oct+17+1888

1892
M Wolf discovered asteroid #342 Endymion.

1906
K Lohnert discovered asteroid #618 Elfriede; Kopff discovered asteroids #616 Elly, #617 Patroclus and #1781 Van Biesbroeck.

1926
Born, Karl Gordon Henize PhD (at Cincinnati, Ohio, USA), NASA mission specialist astronaut (STS 51-F) (deceased)

Astronaut Karl Henize PhD, NASA photo
http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/henize.html

1930
G Neujmin discovered asteroid #1307 Cimmeria; K Reinmuth discovered asteroids #1172 Aneas, #1173 Anchises, #1174 Marmara and #1175 Margo.

1936
M Laugier discovered asteroids #1730 Marceline and #3568.

1941
Died, John S Plaskett, Canadian astronomer (Plaskett's twins)

John Stanley Plaskett (17 November 1865 - 17 October 1941) was a Canadian astronomer most famous for discovering "Plaskett's twins" is a binary star.

When is father died when he was 16, he quit high school to help tend the family farm. Later working as a mechanic, he was hired as a mechanic and handy-man by the University of Toronto's physics department. There his curiosity was ignited, and at the age of 30 he enrolled as a student, graduating in 1899. He was hired at Ottawa's Dominion Observatory in 1903 (as a mechanic) but was promoted to astronomer in 1905, beginning his career at the age of 40.

In 1922 he discovered Plaskett's star (or Plaskett's twins), previously thought to be a single star, was in fact a massive binary star. He found evidence supporting Arthur Eddington's theory that interstellar matter is widely distributed throughout the Galaxy, and confirmed Jan Hendrik Oort's model of galactic rotation. He showed the stationary lines of ionized calcium in the spectra of hot stars are caused by clouds of interstellar gas. Lobbying for construction of a much larger Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Victoria, he designed its 72-inch telescope, which was the largest telescope in the world at the time. He also conducted important work on radial velocities, the spectra of O- and B-type stars, and spectroscopic binaries.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Stanley_Plaskett

1952
J L Brady discovered asteroid #2739.

1956
Born, Mae C. Jemison MD, NASA astronaut, the first black American woman in space

Mae C. Jemison MD (17 October 1956 - ??) flew into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour, 12 September 1992, the first woman "of color" to go into space.

Dr. Jemison, a medical doctor and surgeon with engineering experience, was Science Mission Specialist (a NASA first) on the STS-47 Spacelab J flight, a US/Japan joint mission. She conducted experiments in life sciences and material sciences, and was co-investigator in the Bone Cell Research experiment in the Spacelab laboratory module. Jemison resigned from NASA in March 1993.



Astronaut Mae Jemison MD, NASA photo
http://www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/jemison-mc.html

1956 12:16:00 GMT
The world's first full scale power station, Calder Hall in England, was activated when Queen Victoria pulled the lever which directed electricity from the power station into the National Grid for the first time.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/17/newsid_3147000/3147145.stm

1960
Palomar-Leiden Survey discovered asteroids #1813 Imhotep, #2082 Galahad, #2319, #2412 Wil, #2495 Noviomagum, #3279, #3604 and #3734.

1961 18:57:00 GMT
NASA civilian pilot Joseph A Walker flew X-15A Mach 5, Aero, Stab test mission # 44 to an altitude of 33.101 km (108,599 ft, 20.568 miles), reaching a maximum speed of 6276 kph (Mach 5.74).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_X-15_flights

1963
Goethe Link Observatory discovered asteroid #2161 Grissom.

1963
The United Nations adopted a resolution barring weapons of mass destruction from outer space.
http://www.state.gov/t/isn/5181.htm

1967 16:40:00 GMT
NASA and the USAF launched X-15A UVPL/Solar/MM Technology/Meteor/Solar mission # 190 in which Pete Knight reached a maximum speed of 6227 kph (Mach 5.53) and an altitude of 85.496 km, earning astronaut wings (USAF definition).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_X-15_flights

1969
Soyuz 7 returned to Earth with cosmonauts Filipchenko, Volkov, and Gorbatko aboard after conducting joint maneuvers with Soyuz 6 and 8, the planned docking with Soyuz 8 had not occurred due to system malfunctions.
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/nmc/spacecraftOrbit.do?id=1969-086A

1974
C Kowal discovered asteroid #1939 Loretta; E F Helin discovered asteroids #2074 Shoemaker and #2335 James.

1975
The first Space Shuttle main engine test was conducted at the National Space Technology Labs, Mississippi.
http://science.ksc.nasa.gov/shuttle/technology/sts-newsref/stsover-chron.html

1979
E Bowell discovered asteroids #2356 Hirons, #2409 Chapman, #2421 Nininger, #2695 Christabel and #3007 Reaves.

1982
A Mrkos discovered asteroid #3636; E Bowell discovered asteroids #2817 Perec and #3254 Bus.


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