This Day In Astro History

Samantha Cristoforetti
Samantha Cristoforetti
Happy Birthday!

Boomerang Project
at  Mt. Erebus Antartica, 
under a CMB sky.

Arno Penzias

April 26

2007 - Stephen Hawking goes weightless aboard a flight operated by Zero Gravity Corporation. Stephen Hawking goes weightless

"Life on Earth is at ever increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus, or other dangers," Stephen Hawking said in a statement. "I think the human race has no future if it doesn't go into space."

2000 - Cosmologists reveal first detailed images of early universe. Scientists of the BOOMERANG project, using a micromesh bolometer, release images which bring the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) into sharp focus. "The images reveal  hundreds of complex regions that are visible as tiny variations -- typically only 100-millionths of a degree Celsius (0.0001 C) -- in the temperature of the CMB. The  complex patterns visible in the images confirm predictions of the patterns that would result from sound waves racing through the early universe, creating the structures that by now have evolved into giant clusters and super-clusters of galaxies." Their research determines that the geometry of space is "very nearly flat."

1977 - Happy Birthday Samantha Cristoforetti! 2009 ESA Group. ISS Expedition 42/43 (Nov 23, 2014 - Jun 11, 2015). Samantha is the first Italian woman in space and she holds the record for longest space mission by a European. [Jun 2015]

1962 - NASA's
Ranger 4 spacecraft crashes into the farside Moon and although mission objectives were not reached it becomes the first US spacecraft to reach another celestial body.

1933 - Arno Penzias' birthday, Nobel Prize winner for his part in the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation.

- Shapley-Curtis debate on the nature and distance of spiral nebulae, aka galaxies at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. Harlow Shapley believed that the Milky Way was the entire universe, Heber Doust Curtis was an advocate of the "island universe" theory.

1803 - More than 3000 meteor fragments fall from the skies of L'Aigle, France. The subsequent investigation by Jean-Baptiste Biot convinces European sciences of the extraterrestrial origin of meteors.

Jean-Baptiste Biot
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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