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On this day in 1951 - May 26th - US physics professor and astronaut Sally Ride was born.

Dr Ride was the first American woman to go into space. Her first flight was almost twenty years to the day after cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space.



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On this day in 1931 - May 27th - Swiss physicist and explorer Auguste Piccard, with Paul Kipfer, became the first to travel into the stratosphere.

They reached a record altitude in a balloon with a pressurized aluminum gondola designed by Piccard. Piccard wanted to measure the activity of cosmic rays and investigate Einstein's theory of relativity.



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Wasn't one of the characters on Star Trek or one of those shows named Piccard?

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Almost, Angie! The character played by Patrick Stewart was Jean-Luc Picard (one "c").


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On this day in 1919 - May 29th - Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity was tested during a total solar eclipse.

By comparing the apparent distance between stars in the constellation Taurus, with and without the Sun between them, British astrophysicist Arthur Eddington confirmed the theoretical predictions about gravitational lenses.





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On this day in 1794 - May 29th - German astronomer Johann Heinrich von Mädler was born.

Von Mädler, along with Wilhelm Beer, published Mappa Selenographica, the most complete map of the Moon at that time, and which remained unsurpassed for over forty years.




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On this day in 1934 - May 30th - cosmonaut Alexi Leonov was born.

Among Leonov's many accomplishments, he was the first person to carry out a "spacewalk".


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On this day in 1975 - May 30th - nine countries signed the convention to establish the European Space Agency (ESA).


The convention came into force on 30 October 1980 with the deposit of the last instrument of ratification.


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On this day in 1963 - May 30th - British chemist Dr Helen Sharman was born.

Sharman was the first British astronaut in space and the first woman to visit the Mir space station.


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On this day in 1858 - June 2nd - Giovanni Battista Donati first observed the comet that bears his name.

Comet Donati, formally designated C/1858 L1 and 1858 VI, was one of the most brilliant comets of the 19th century. It inspired artists and poets and was also the first comet to be photographed, though the photograph has apparently been lost.





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