On this day in 1572 - November 6th - Tycho Brahe recorded his observation of a bright new star (now listed as supernova SN 1572) in the constellation Cassiopeia.
The understanding of the time was that the stars were part of a sphere which was perfect and unchangeable, so the new object was assumed to be a local phenomenon. However, Tycho's study showed that it was a distant star.
On this day in 1631 - November 7th - French priest and astronomer Pierre Gassendi observed a transit of Mercury.
Johannes Kepler had predicted transits of Mercury and Venus, but when Gassendi witnessed a transit of Mercury, he was the first person to see such a transit. The next transit of Mercury is on November 11, 2019.
On this day in 1875 - November 11th - American astronomer Vesto Slipher was born.
Slipher was director of the Lowell Observatory in Arizona, and the first to discover the redshift of galaxies when he measured their velocities. This laid the foundation for the work that Edwin Hubble later carried out.
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