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On this day in 2013 - June 27th - NASA's IRIS (Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph) was launched.

IRIS was deisgned to investigate the physical conditions of the solar limb, particularly the chromosphere of the Sun.


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On this day in 1912 - June 28th - Australian radio astronomer Ruby Payne-Scott was born.

Payne-Scott was a pioneer in radiophysics and radio astronomy, and was the first female radio astronomer.


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On this day in 1995 - June 29th - the first docking between the Soviet space station Mir and the American Space Shuttle took place.

The shuttle Atlantis was the first US spacecraft to dock with a Russian spacecraft since the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project in 1975.


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On this day in 1908 - June 30th - an asteroid impact leveled hundreds of miles of Siberian forest around Tunguska.

The event is classified as an impact even, but is thought to have been caused by a meteoroid exploding above ground. No impact crater has ever been found.


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On this day in 2001 - June 30th - the Wilkinson Microwave Anistotropy Probe (WMAP) was launched.

This spacecraft operated from 2001 to 2010. Across the sky it measured tiny temperature differences in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) - the radiant heat left over from the Big Bang.




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On this day in 1990 - June 30th - the joint ESA/NASA Ulysses mission came to an end after 18 years in service.

Ulysses was the first ever spacecraft to explore space above and below the Sun's poles. When it was launched it had a nominal lifetime of five years.


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On this day in 1917 - July 1st - the 100" mirror for the Hooker telescope arrived at Mt Wilson Observatory.

This telescope was the biggest in the world for three decades. Edwin Hubble calculated the distance to Andromeda from a Cepheid variable he discovered there with the telescope. It showed Andromeda was a separate galaxy. Hubble and Milton Humason also observed the redshifts of a number of galaxies and found that they were moving away from us.


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On this day in 1985 - July 2nd - the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the Giotto probe to study Halley's Comet.

Giotto was the first spacecraft ever to make close up observations of a comet.


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On this day in 1935 - July 3rd - Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt was born.

Geologist Schmitt was the only scientist astronaut to walk on the Moon.


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On this day in 1868 - July 4th - American astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt was born.

Her discovery of the relationship between the period and the luminosity of Cepheid variable stars made possible Edwin Hubble's work on galactic distances.


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