On this day in 1987 - February 23rd - the light from supernova SN 1987A reached Earth.
The supernova occurred in the Tarantula Nebula in our neighboring galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud. It was the closest supernova seen in nearly four hundred years, visible to the unaided eye in the southern hemisphere. It has greatly increased our understanding of this spectacular phenomenon.
On this day in 1945 - February 23rd - Ukranian astronomer Svetlana Gerasimenko was born.
Gerasimenko was the co-discoverer of comet 67P/Churyumovâ€“Gerasimenko, the comet which was studied by the Rosetta mission. Both the Rosetta spacecraft and the lander Philae are on the comet as it continues its orbit.
On this day in 1968 - February 24th - the discovery of the first pulsar was announced.
A pulsar is a fast-rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. We can only detect it when it's pointing towards us, rather like a lighthouse, so it seems to pulse. A neutron star is the remnant of a massive star following the collapse of its core in a supernova explosion.
On this day in 1897 - February 27th - French astronomer Bernard Lyot was born.
Bernard Lyot's work brought him major international awards. His most important contributions to astronomy were in solar observing, especially the invention of the coronagraph which makes it possible to observe the Sun's corona without waiting for a total eclipse.
On this day in 2007 - February 28th - the New Horizons spacecraft flew past Jupiter en route to Pluto.
New Horizons made over 700 observations of the Jovian system, but the main reason for the flyby was to carry out a gravity assist maneuver, That boosted the speed of the spacecraft to get it to Pluto five years earlier than it would have otherwise.
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