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On this day in 1851 - January 19th - Jacobus Kapteyn was born.

Kapteyn was a Dutch astronomer best known for his studies of the Milky Way. He was the first to discover evidence that galaxies rotate.


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On this day in 2006 - January 19th - NASA's New Horizons spacecraft was launched.

The spacecraft made a flyby of the Plutonian system in the summer of 2015, and on New Year's Day 2019, followed it up with a flyby of the Kuiper Belt object informally called Ultima Thule, but later renamed Arrokoth.


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On this day in 1930 - January 20th - Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin was born.

The second man to step onto the Moon has been not only an astronaut, but also an Air Force combat pilot, aerial gunnery instructor and flight commander. His doctoral thesis at MIT was on techniques for manned orbital rendezvous.


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On this day in On this day in 1573 - January 20th - German astronomer Simon Marius was born.

Marius claimed he had seen Jupiter's moons before Galileo. Galileo's documentation was more extensive and published first, so he got the credit. However, the suggestions Marius made for naming the four large moons were eventually adopted.


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On this day in On this day in 2014 - January 20th - ESA's Rosetta spacecraft awoke from a deep space hibernation of over thirty months.

Rosetta's historic mission saw her then catch up with a comet, go into orbit around it, put a lander on its surface, and follow the comet as it went around the Sun.


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On this day in 1908 - January 21st - Danish astronomer and astrophysicist Bengt Strömgren was born.

He applied quantum mechanics to understanding stars, produced pioneering work in the chemical composition of stars, and discovered vast shells of ionized hydrogen around stars, now known as Strömgren Spheres.


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On this day in 1592 - January 22nd - Pierre Gassendi was born.

Gassendi was a French philosopher, priest, astronomer, and scientific observer, experimentalist and chronicler. He was the first person ever to see a planet transiting the Sun when he observed the 1631 transit of Mercury.


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On this day in 2003 - January 22nd - Pioneer 10's last signal was received.

Pioneer 10 was the first spacecraft to pass through the asteroid belt, and later the first to pass the orbit of Pluto. Originally designed for a 21-month mission, it lasted more than 30 years.


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On this day in 1986 - January 24th - Voyager 2 flew past Uranus.

This fly-by was the first and only visit of a spacecraft to Uranus.


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On this day in 2004 - January 25th - the Mars rover Opportunity landed on the red planet.

The mission was designed to last 90 Martian days, but it was operational until the summer of 2018 when an exceptionally severe dust storm blanketed Mars for three months. The rover didn't recover from the loss of power, and the mission was officially brought to an end in February 2019.


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