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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. There was a transit of Mercury in November 2019, but the next one doesn't occur until November 13, 2032.


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On this day in 1656 - November 8th - English astronomer and master of other sciences Edmond Halley was born.

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 1934 - November 9th - American astronomer Carl Sagan was born.

Sagan was also noted as a science writer and communicator, and is still remembered for his television series Cosmos. In 2009 Carl Sagan Day was initiated as an annual celebration of astronomy and of Sagan's ideals.


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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 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 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 obtained their spectra and measured their radial velocities. This laid the foundation for the work that Edwin Hubble's work on the expansion of the Universe.



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On this day in 1910 - November 11th - American astronomer Carl Alvar Wirtanen was born.

Wirkenen worked at Lick Observatory in California. He's best known for his discovery of periodic comet 46P/Wirtanen and eight asteroids.


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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 1891 - November 12th - American astronomer Seth Barnes Nicholson was born.

Nicholson worked at Mount Wilson Observatory in California for over 40 yrs, mainly concerned with solar activity. But he also computed the orbit of several comets, discovered a Trojan asteroid, and is probably best remembered for his discovery of four satellites of Jupiter.


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