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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.


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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.


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On this day in 1656 - November 8th - English astronomer Edmond Halley was born.

Edmond Halley was one of the greatest minds of his era. He is still known today for Halley's Comet, which bears his name after he correctly predicted its return.


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On this day in 2005 - November 9th - the European Space Agency (ESA) Venus Express spacecraft was launched.

The main objective was the long term observation of the Venusian atmosphere - which the mission did for nearly nine years.


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On this day in 1934 - November 9th - American astronomer Carl Sagan was born.

Sagan was also noted as a science writer and communicator, and still remembered for his television series Cosmos.


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On this day in 1967 - November 9th - a Saturn V launch vehicle took the unmanned Apollo 4 into space.

It was the first test of the Saturn V rocket, which would be used by the U.S. Apollo program to send astronauts to the Moon.


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On this day in 1861 - November 10th - Scottish astronomer Robert T. A. Innes was born.

Innes is best known for his discovery of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to Earth after the Sun.



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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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On this day in 2014 - November 12th - the Philae probe became the first spacecraft to land on a comet.

Philae was the lander carried by the Rosetta mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.




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On this day in 1680 - November 14th - German astronomer Gottfried Kirch discovered the comet C/1680 V1.

It was the first comet to be discovered using a telescope, and became one of the brightest comets of the 17th century.


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