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On this day in 1969 – October 23rd – the discoverers of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko announced their discovery to the Central International Bureau of Astronomical Telegrams.

ESA's Rosetta spacecraft and the lander Philae lie on the comet - they spent two years studying it.


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On this day in 1851 – October 24th – English astronomer William Lassell discovered two moons of Uranus, Umbriel and Ariel.


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On this day in 1946 – October 24th – the first photograph of Earth was taken from space.

The photo was taken from a rocket 105 km above the ground; it had been launched from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, USA.


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On this day in 1998 – October 24th – NASA's Deep Space 1 spacecraft was launched.

It would go on to test advanced technologies and make a flyby of asteroid 9969 Braille and of comet 19P/Borrelly.


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On this day in 2001 – October 24th – NASA's Mars Odyssey was inserted into Martian orbit. It's the longest-surviving continually active spacecraft orbiting a planet other than Earth.

From orbit, it's looking for evidence of past or present water and ice, as well as studying the planet's geology and radiation environment. It also assisted the Curiosity rover as a relay.


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On this day in 2007 – October 24th – China launched Chang'e 1.

The unmanned lunar-orbiting spacecraft was part of the first phase of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program - it was named after the Chinese Moon goddess.


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On this day in 1789 – October 25th – the German astronomer Samuel Heinrich Schwabe was born in Dessau, Anhalt.

He is best known for his work on sunspots and the discovery of the 11-year sunspot cycle.


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On this day in 1887 – October 25th – American astronomer Henry Norris Russell was born in Oyster Bay, New York.

Russell was one of the major figures of early 20th century astronomy. He's best known today for his part in creating what's now called the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram which demonstrates stellar evolution. (Danish astronomer Ejnar Hertzsprung independently made the same discovery.)


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On this day in 2006 – October 25th – NASA launched STEREO.

STEREO was a solar observation mission using two identical spacecraft in two slightly different orbits. That permitted stereoscopic imaging of the Sun. The mission lasted longer than the two years for which it was planned, but in 2014 STEREO-B malfunctioned and couldn't be recovered. STEREO-A is still operational.


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On this day in 1902 – October 26th – American astronomer Henrietta Hill Swope was born in St. Louis, Missouri.

She is best known for his work on variable stars, especially the study of Cepheid variables which can be used to measure the distances to other galaxies.


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