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On this day in 1840 – July 1st – Irish astronomer, lecturer and astronomy popularizer, Robert Ball, was born in Dublin.

Ball was a university professor and the Royal Astronomer in Ireland. He was well known to the public for his books on astronomy, and for his public lectures. Between 1875 and 1910 he gave around 2500 lectures in towns and cities across Britain and Ireland.


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On this day in 1917 – July 1st – the 100" mirror for the Hooker telescope arrived at Mt Wilson Observatory.

This telescope was the biggest in the world for three decades. Edwin Hubble calculated the distance to Andromeda from a Cepheid variable he discovered there with the telescope. It showed Andromeda was a separate galaxy. Hubble and Milton Humason also observed the redshifts of a number of galaxies and found that they were moving away from us.


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On this day in 1985 – July 2nd – the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the Giotto probe to study Halley's Comet.

Giotto would be the first spacecraft ever to make close up observations of a comet.


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On this day in 1935 – July 3rd – geologist and Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt was born in Santa Rita, New Mexico.

Schmitt is the only scientist to have gone to the Moon.


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I was reaading this morning that Hubble is still offline and NASA doesn't know why.

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On this day in 1054 – July 4th – Chinese astronomers observed the supernova explosion that created the Crab Nebula (Messier 1) in the constellation Taurus.

The supernova would have occurred some 6500 years before it was observed on Earth, since it's around 6500 light years away.


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On this day in 1868 – July 4th – American astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt was born in Lancaster, Massachusetts.

Her discovery of the relationship between the period and the luminosity of Cepheid variable stars made possible Edwin Hubble's work on galactic distances.


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On this day in 1997 – July 4th – NASA's Mars Pathfinder landed on Mars.

The robotic spacecraft consisted of a lander, renamed the Carl Sagan Memorial Station, and a wheeled robotic rover named Sojourner. It was the first successful Mars rover.


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On this day in 2005 – July 4th – NASA's Deep Impact probe collided with comet Tempel 1.

The Deep Impact mission was designed to study the interior composition of the comet Tempel 1 (9P/Tempel) by releasing an impactor into it.


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On this day in 1687 – July 5th – Edmond Halley published the Principia of Isaac Newton.

Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Latin for 'Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy') states Newton's laws of motion and of universal gravitation. It's regarded as one of the most important works in the history of science.


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