This Day In Astro History

comet breaking up
Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 as seen by Paul Martinez & Philip Brents Nereid
Nereid as seen from Voyager 2

May 1

2006 - Comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3, one of the comets discovered by astronomers by Arnold Schwassmann and Arno Arthur Wachmann, broke into fragments on its re-entry to the inner Solar System, in a reaction triggered by the Sun's heating the comet as it emerged from the frozen space of the outer Solar System.

1949 - Neptune's moon Nereid is discovered by Gerard Kuiper.

1930 - The dwarf planet Pluto is officially named.

1925 - Birthday, Scott Carpenter, one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts selected by NASA on April 9, 1959. He flew Mercury Aurora 7 and was the second American to orbit Earth and the fourth American in Space.  He has his own website at
Scott Carpenter
Happy Birthday!
Scott Carpenter
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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