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On this day in 1948 – June 3rd – the 200-inch Hale telescope was dedicated at Palomar Observatory in California.

The telescope was a marvel of design and precision engineering, and the largest in the world for several decades.

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On this day in 2000 – June 4th – the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory reentered the atmosphere.

The observatory, part of NASA's Great Observatories series, detected high energy photons. It reentered the atmosphere in a controlled deorbit.

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On this day in 1819 – June 5th – British mathematician and astronomer John Couch Adams was born.

His most famous achievement was predicting the existence and position of Neptune, using only mathematics. But Urbain LeVerrier had independently made the calculations and the planet was discovered using LeVerrier's calculations. (Who discovered Neptune?)

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On this day in 1971 – June 6th – Soyuz 11 was launched with the first crew to occupy the Salyut 1 space station.

Salyut 1 was the very first space station - it was launched into low earth orbit by the Soviet Union in April 1971.

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On this day in 1992 – June 7th – the Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer (EUVE) was launched.

This NASA space telescope was the first one designed especially for the short-wave ultraviolet range. It went on to compile an all-sky survey of 801 astronomical targets.

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On this day in 1625 – June 8th – Italian-French astronomer Giovanni Domenico (Jean-Dominique) Cassini was born.

Cassini was one of the most important astronomers of the 17-18th centuries, and was the first of four Cassinis to direct the Paris Observatory. The NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn bore his name because of his study of Saturn, which included the discovery of four of Saturn's moons.

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On this day in 1812 – June 9th – German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle was born in Radis, Kingdom of Saxony.

Galle is best known for his being the first person to see the planet Neptune, knowing what he was seeing. This followed his search for the planet using the calculations Urbain Le Verrier had sent him. (Who discovered Neptune?)

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On this day in 1975 – June 9th – the Soviet Union launched the Venera 9 mission.

It consisted of an orbiter and a lander. The orbiter was the first spacecraft to orbit Venus, while the lander was the first to return images from the surface of another planet.

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On this day in 2003 – June 10th – NASA's Mars rover Spirit was launched.

The original plan was for a three-month mission, but the mission wasn't finally terminated until May 2011.

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On this day in 1710 – June 10th – Scottish optician, mathematician, telescope maker and astronomer James Short was born in Edinburgh.

He is best remembered as a prolific manufacturer of scientific and optical instruments. Short produced over 1,350 instruments in his lifetime.

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