On this day in 1900 - January 2nd - Leslie Peltier was born.
Harlow Shapley once described Peltier as "the world's greatest non-professional astronomer". Over his sixty years of observing he made more than 132,000 variable star observations. He also co-discovered 12 comets, 10 of which bear his name.
On this day in 1959 - January 2nd - the Soviet spacecraft Luna 1 was launched.
Luna 1 was supposed to impact the Moon, but due to a launch error missed it. It was still the first spacecraft leave Earth orbit and the first to get close to the Moon. In addition, when it missed the Moon it ended up going into orbit around the Sun. It still orbits between Earth and Mars.
On this day in 1797 - January 4th - Wilhelm Beer was born.
Beer was an amateur astronomer who with Johann Heinrich Mädler published the first map of the Moon (Mappa Selenographica). The pair also made a map of Mars and calculated the planet's rotation period to within 0.1 second of today's figure.
Last edited by Mona - Astronomy; 01/04/1707:59 PM.