On this day in 1892 - January 5th - the first successful photograph was taken of an aurora.
Early cameras couldn't catch the dim light of an aurora and long exposures don't work on something that moves. German physicist Martin Brendel and a fellow scientist on an expedition in northern Norway took the first successful image and thereby revolutionized the study of the northern lights.
On this day in 1942 - January 8th - Stephen Hawking was born.
Hawking is possibly the most famous living scientist. For thirty years he held the prestigious post of Lucasian Professor at Cambridge, though he retired a number of years ago. (Isaac Newton also once held this chair.) He's best known for his work on black holes.