This Day In Astro History

Woodleigh Gravity Image
Woodleigh Gravity Image

Christian Huygens
Christian Huygens
(1629 - 1695)

April 14

2000 - Astronomers at Northwestern University and University of Illinois detected the first observational evidence for the remnants of hypernovae, explosions a hundred times more energetic than supernovae and the possible source of powerful gamma ray bursts (GRB), making them the most energetic events known in the Universe other than The Big Bang

2000 - Scientists at the Geological Survey of Western Australia announce their discovery of buried remains of an 80-mile wide impact crater near the town of Woodleigh, near Shark Bay on Australia's west coast. Using gravity measurements to find the multi-ring crater they estimated age of this rock from space makes it chief suspect behind the worst extinction catastrophes in Earth's history. This crater may correlate with one of three events known in the fossil record: the Late Devonian extinction (364 million years), the end of the Permian (247 million years), and the end of the Triassic (214 million years).

1629 - Christian Huygens' Birthday, Dutch physicist and astronomer and one of the preeminent scientists of the 17th century. Born in The Hague, The Netherlands. He studied at Leyden and Breda, discovered the ring and fourth satellite of Saturn (1655), and got the patent for the first pendulum clock (1657). In optics he propounded the wave theory of light, and discovered polarization. He lived in Paris, a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences from 1666-1681 but returned to The Hague because of religious persecution.  NASA has honored Huygens by naming a space probe which is on the spacecraft Cassini, currently (1999) on its way to Saturn.
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It is my conclusion that human evolution and the motions of matter in space are intrinsically linked. The observation and understanding of the complexity of biological history on Earth cannot be complete without the tandem observation and understanding of a dynamic greater cosmos. - SpaceGene