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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 in Edinburgh.

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 in Mulberry, Indiana.

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 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Wirkenen worked at Lick Observatory in California. He's best known for his discovery of periodic comet 46P/Wirtanen and eight asteroids. On the comet's 2018 visit, it was dubbed the Christmas Comet. It was bright green, and visible in dark skies as a naked eye object. [Beautiful photo by Tommy Eliassen]


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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 that was part of 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 in Springfield, Illinois.

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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On this day in 1680 – November 14th – Gottfried Kirch discovered the comet C/1680 V1.

It was the first comet to be discovered using a telescope, and became one of the brightest comets of the 17th century.


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On this day in 1971 – November 14th – NASA's Mariner 9 was inserted into Martian orbit.

Mariner 9 was the first spacecraft to orbit Mars.


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On this day in 1738 – November 15th – William Herschel was born in Hannover, now part of Germany. He later became a naturalized Englishman.

Herschel, with the assistance of his sister Caroline, helped to lay the foundations of modern astronomy. And he was an international celebrity as the first person in history to discover a new planet (Uranus).


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