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2137 B.C.
Chinese records noted the first recorded total eclipse of the Sun.

Christopher Columbus discovered America, making landfall at San Salvador Island. (This is the Gregorian calendar date, as opposed to the 12 Oct 1492 Julian calender date commonly known.)

Joseph Aspdin patented Portland cement, at Yorkshire, England.

Born, Alfred Bernhard Nobel, Stockholm, created dynamite and Peace Prizes

H D'Arrest discovered asteroid #76 Freia.

Died (age 78), Jacques Babinet, French physicist, mathematician, astronomer

J Palisa discovered asteroid #208 Lacrimosa.

Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Edison tested the first practical electric light bulb, which lasted 13 1/2 hours before burning out.

Yerkes Observatory, of the University of Chicago, Illinois, was dedicated.

J H Metcalf discovered asteroid #525 Adelaide.

J Palisa discovered asteroids #723 Hammonia, #724 Hapag and #725 Amanda.

The first transatlantic radiotelephone message was sent from Arlington, Virginia to Paris, France.

The first planetarium was opened at the Deutsche Museum in Munich, Germany.

Born, Ursula K[roeber] Le Guin, American science fiction author

E Delporte discovered asteroid #1374 Isora.

M Laugier discovered asteroid #2106 Hugo.

H Alikoski discovered asteroid #1508 Kemi.

Facsimile high speed radio transmission was first demonstrated, at Washington, DC.

Born, Ronald E McNair, (at Lake City, South Carolina, USA), astronaut (STS 41B, STS 51L - Challenger disaster)

Ronald Erwin McNair (21 October 1950 - 28 January 1986) was one of the astronauts killed in the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger, mission STS 51-L.

Dr. McNair received a B.S. in physics from North Carolina A&T State University in 1967, and a Ph.D. in the same discipline from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976. He was also received honorary doctorates in 1978, 1980 and 1984. After graduation from MIT, he became a staff physicist at the Hughes Research Laboratories.

During the 1970s actress Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek fame was employed by NASA to recruit minority candidates for the space program. Dr. McNair became one of these candidates, was selected for the astronaut program in 1978 and had flown a mission on the Challenger in February, 1984 as a mission specialist.

Dr. McNair was a saxophonist; before the mission he worked with composer Jean Michel Jarre on a piece of music, Rendez-vous VI. It was intended that he would record his saxophone solo on board Challenger, making it the first piece of music played in space. After the disaster, the piece was renamed Ron's Piece.

US President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an executive order transferring Wernher Von Braun and other German scientists from the United States Army to NASA.

Died (age 94), Ejnar Hertzsprung, Danish astrophysicist

H L Giclas discovered asteroid #3695.

USSR launched Venera 9, the first spacecraft to orbit Venus.

Felix Aguilar Observatory discovered asteroid #2550 Houssay.

E Bowell discovered asteroids #3061 Cook and #3507 Vilas; L Zhuravleva discovered asteroid #3376; L G Karachkina discovered asteroids #3469 Bulgakov, #3516 Rusheva, #3668, #3669 and #3772.

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