October in astronomy history

400 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH

On the 2nd October 1608, the Dutch lens maker Hans Lippershey demonstrated the first practical telescope to the Dutch parliament. He is thought to have been the first to try and patent the invention, which could provide the user with roughly three times magnification. (However, legend has it that Lippershey got the idea after seeing some children playing around with his lenses in a telescopic fashion…)

50 YEARS AGO THIS MONTH

On the 11th October 1958, Pioneer 1 became the first spacecraft to be launched by NASA. The mission objective was to study the radiation, magnetic fields, and micrometeorites of the Earth/Moon environment, but due to a malfunction at launch it never acheived its intended lunar orbit. It did reach an altitude of nearly 114,000km above the Earth though and was the most successful of the early “Thor-Able” craft.

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Posted on 6 October, 2008, in Astronomy News, Popular Science, Space exploration and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on October in astronomy history.

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