On this day in 2002 – January 18th – the Gemini South Observatory was dedicated.
Gemini South in Chile and Gemini North in Hawaii together constitute the Gemini Observatory. The twin telescopes provide almost complete coverage of the skies with two of the largest and most advanced optical/infrared telescopes available.
On this day in 1747 – January 19th – Johann Bode was born in Hamburg, Germany.
Bode was the director of the Berlin Observatory for nearly forty years. In 1801 he published his influential star atlas Uranographia. A keen popularizer of astronomy, he also produced a smaller atlas aimed at amateur astronomers. His name also lives on in the "Titius-Bode Law".
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.
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.
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.
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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