This Day In Astro History

A sungrazing comet 
caught in the act
by Soho spacecraft

May 17

1969 - Venera 6, a Soviet spaceprobe, lands on Venus.

1882 - A sun-grazing comet is discovered on photographs of the solar corona taken during a total solar eclipse; the comet has not been seen since.

1835 - J. Norman Lockyer's birthday, co-discoverer of the element helium in 1868. Lockyer was making visual spectroscopic studies of the sun (helios) when he attributed unknown absorption lines to the new element, not "discovered" on earth until 1891. It's the second simplest and most abundant element in the universe after hydrogen. Sir  Lockyer is also known as the Father of Archeoastronomy and the founder and first editor of the influential journal Nature. He was among the first to propose scientifically that Stonehenge was an astronomical observatory and that the Egyptian pyramids and great medieval Christian cathedrals were built along important astronomical orientations. He died at age 84 in 1920.
Norman Lockyer (1909)
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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