This Day In Astro History

kepler portrait
Johannes Kepler
(1571 - 1630)

Apollo 8 - Mission Accomplished

December 27

1982 - Death of Jack Swigert, American, Command Module Pilot for Apollo 13. He was born in 1931. He was one of the 24 persons who flew to the Moon. He died of respiratory failure, due to cancer, eight days before beginning a US Congressional term.

1968 - Apollo 8 splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first manned mission to orbit the Moon.

1571 - Johannes Kepler's Birthday.  German protégé of Tycho Brahe.  In 1609 Kepler demonstrates in Astronomia Nova that the orbits of planets are elliptical. 

The Sleepwalkers describes the political and social environments within which early scientists worked. Also is the account of Kepler's mother being accused, tortured, and tried for witchcraft. He defended her over a few years at the time he was writing Harmony of the World. She lay in chains, 'with two full time guards-whose salary had to be paid by the defense' at seventy three years of age......."In Kepler's idyllic birthplace, with a population of two hundred families, thirty eight witches were burnt between 1615 and 1629. In Kepler's mother's equally small town/village, six witches were burnt in the winter of 1615 alone. Challenging times for scientists :-(-- Regards John - in Wales where we only have to watch out for our dragons) (AstroList)

swigert statue
Jack Swigert, Space Hero
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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