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On this day in 1998 – December 6th – the Unity and Zarya modules were connected to form the core of the International Space Station (ISS).

The ISS was first occupied on November 2, 2000 and has been in continuous occupation ever since.


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On this day in 1676 – December 7th – the first news was published of Danish astronomer Ole Rømer's measurement of the speed of light.

Rømer's work was based on observations of the eclipses of the moons of Jupiter. At that time not everyone was convinced that light even had a finite speed.


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On this day in 1905 – December 7th – Gerard Kuiper was born in Tuitjenhorn, Netherlands.

Among the Dutch-American astronomer's discoveries is Neptune's moon Miranda. Kuiper is considered by many to be the father of modern planetary science.


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On this day in 1995 – December 7th – NASA's Galileo spacecraft entered Jupiter's atmosphere and began its prime mission.

Galileo was the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter, though others had done fly-bys of the giant planet.


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On this day in 2018 – December 7th – China launched the Chang'e 4 lunar spacecraft mission.

The mission included a robotic lander and the rover Yutu-2.


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On this day in 1842 – December 8th – French astronomer Alphonse Louis Nicolas Borrelly was born in Roquemaure (Gard) in southern France.

At the Marseille Observatory, Borrelly discovered 18 asteroids and discovered or co-discovered at least six comets, including the periodic comet 19P/Borrelly. That comet was photographed by NASA's Deep Space 1 in September 2001. It rounds the Sun again next year on February 1.


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On this day in 1999 – December 10th – the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the Newton X-Ray Multi-Mirror Telescope (XMM-Newton).

XMM-Newton, named after Sir Isaac Newton, investigates interstellar X-ray sources and performed the first simultaneous imaging of objects in both X-ray and optical (visible and ultraviolet) wavelengths. Although planned to be operational for 10 years, the telescope is still in operation.


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On this day in 1863 – December 11th – American astronomer Annie Jump Cannon was born.

Cannon classified nearly a quarter of a million star spectra for the Henry Draper Catalogue and oversaw its publication after the death of Edward Pickering, the Harvard College Observatory director.


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On this day in 1805 – December 13th – Scottish-German astronomer Johann von Lamont (John Lamont) was born in Corriemulzie in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

He calculated the orbits of moons of Uranus and Saturn, but his most important work was on the Earth's magnetism.


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On this day in 1904 – December 13th – theoretical physicist Sir William Hunter McCrea was born in Dublin, Ireland.

McCrea made contributions to mathematics, physics and almost every area of astronomy, but is best known for his seminal work in modern relativistic cosmology. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Royal Astronomical Society, the Royal Irish Academy, and was awarded many other honors.


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