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The sixth recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet occurred.

The eighteenth recorded perihelion passage of Halley's Comet occurred.

Born, Christopher Clavius, astronomer (Gregorian calendar)

Christopher Clavius, born Christoph Clau, (25 March 1538 - 12 February 1612 (Gregorian calendar dates)) was a German mathematician and astronomer who was the main architect of the modern Gregorian calendar. In his last years he was probably the most respected astronomer in Europe.

Christian Huygens discovered Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

Born, Giovanni B. Amici, Italian astronomer, physicist, botanist

1865 09:00:00 CST (UTC -6:00:00)
The "Claywater Meteorite" exploded just before reaching ground level in Vernon County, Wisconsin. Fragments having a combined mass of 1.5 kg were recovered.

G Neujmin discovered asteroid #824 Anastasia.

Born, Jim Lovell, Jr., American astronaut (Gemini 7, 12, Apollo 8, 13)

Astronaut Jim Lovell, NASA photo

James Arthur Lovell, Jr., (25 March 1928 - ) was NASA astronaut who flew on two Gemini missions (Gemini 7 and Gemini 12) and made two trips to the Moon, but never landed there: Lovell was on the first Lunar orbit flight, Apollo 8 (1968), and the aborted Apollo 13 mission (1970). After retiring from space flight, Lovell continued exploring, visiting both the North Pole (13 April 1987) and South Pole (January 2000). In 1994, Lovell wrote his account of the Apollo 13 mission, "Lost Moon."

Lovell is one of only 24 people to have flown to the Moon, the first of only three people to fly to the Moon twice (the other two being John Young and Gene Cernan), and the only one to do so without making a landing. He was also the first American to fly in space four times.

The planet Pluto was officially given its name (suggested by 11 year old Venetia Burney), although its name wasn't announced until May 1.

K Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1587 Kahrstedt.

M Laugier discovered asteroid #2677.

The 200" mirror blank left the Corning Glass Works, in Corning, New York, for California, to be ground for use in constructing the Hale telescope at the Mount Palomar Observatory.

Died, Cral Richard Nyberg, inventor (blowtorch)

Harold Ewen and Edward Purcell, at Harvard University's Lyman Laboratory, first detected the 21 cm emission from neutral hydrogen in the Milky Way.

NASA test pilot Joe Walker made the first X-15 flight.

Joseph A. Walker (20 February 1921 - 8 June 1966) was a Chief Research Pilot at the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center during the mid-1960s. Walker made the first NASA X-15 flight on 25 March 1960. He flew the research aircraft 24 times and achieved its fastest speed and highest altitude. He attained a speed of 4,104 mph (Mach 5.92) during a flight on 27 June 1962, and reached an altitude of 354,300 feet on 22 August 1963 (his last X-15 flight). He was the first man to pilot the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) that was used to develop piloting and operational techniques for Lunar landings. Walker was killed in a collision of his F-104 chase plane with the XB-70 bomber during testing. The accident led to the discovery of wingtip vortices, which were responsible for the collision.

1961 07:40:00 UTC
USSR launched Sputnik 10 (Korabl Sputnik 5) on a successful one orbit flight with the dog Zvezdochka (meaning "Little Star", named by cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin) and a dummy cosmonaut in a space suit aboard in final preparation for the Vostok 1 mission.

Sputnik 10, also called Korabl-Sputnik 5, was launched on 25 March 1961, the fifth and last in a series of spacecraft designed as precursors to manned space flight. It carried a dummy astronaut and the dog Zvezdochka ("little star"), as well as the television system and other scientific apparatus. After one orbit, a successful recovery was made.

1961 15:17:00 UTC
NASA launched Explorer 10 into a highly eliptical Earth orbit (177x181,000 km) .

Explorer 10, launched 25 March 1961 into a highly elliptical orbit, was a cylindrical battery powered spacecraft instrumented with two fluxgate magnetometers and one rubidium vapor magnetometer extending from the main spacecraft body, and a Faraday cup plasma probe. The mission objective was to investigate the magnetic fields and plasma as the spacecraft passed through the Earth's magnetosphere and into cislunar space. The satellite was spin stabilized, with a spin period of 0.548 seconds and spin vector direction of 71 degrees right ascension and minus 15 degrees declination. Because of the limited lifetime of the spacecraft batteries, the only useful data were transmitted in real time for 52 hours on the ascending portion of the first orbit. The distance from the Earth when the last bit of useful information was transmitted was 42.3 Earth radii, at 2200 hours, local time. All transmission ceased several hours later.

C J Van Houten discovered asteroid #1873 Agenor.

NASA's space shuttle Columbia (OV-102, the first fully functional space shuttle orbiter), flown on the 747-derived carrier aircraft from Elgin Air Force Base, landed at Kennedy Space Center, Florida after a 1 hour 33 minute transport flight.

NASA's HEAO 2 observatory re-entered the atmosphere.

NASA's HEAO 2 (High Energy Astronomical Observatory, renamed Einstein after its launch on 13 November 1978) was the world's first orbiting imaging X-ray telescope and returned detailed quasar images and discovered that Jupiter and Earth emit X-rays. The satellite also made over 5,000 targeted observations and discovered several thousand "serendipitous" sources that fell within the field of view of its imaging instruments. The spacecraft re-entered the Earth's atmosphere on 25 March 1982.

1988 19:50:46 UTC
NASA launched San Marco-D/L from the San Marco Platform, Kenya on a Scout rocket to explore the relationship between solar activity and thermosphere-ionosphere phenomena.

1992 08:51:22 UTC
Russia's Soyuz TM-13 returned to Earth from the Mir space station with cosmonauts Alexander Volkov (Russia), Sergei Krikalev (Ukraine) and Klaus-Dietrich Flade (Germany) aboard. Krikalev returned from 10 months on Mir, during which the USSR broke up.

USSR launched Soyuz TM-13 on 2 October 1991 to transport the Mir Expedition EO-10 international crew to the Mir manned orbital station. The crew included cosmonauts Aleksandr Volkov (USSR), Toktar Aubakirov (Kazakh) and Franz Viehbock (Austria) whose mission was to conduct joint scientific and technical research with cosmonauts Anatoli Artsebarsky and Sergei Krikalev. The flight was unusual for carrying no flight engineer. Veteran Russian cosmonaut Alexandr Volkov commanded. Austria paid $7 million to participate in the mission. Aubakirov was added at the last minute, partly in an effort to encourage newly independent Kazakhstan to continue to permit launchings from Baikonur Cosmodrome. The Austrian and Kazakh cosmonaut-researchers photographed their respective countries from orbit and conducted the usual range of materials processing and medical experiments. Artsebarski traded places with Volkov and returned to Earth in Soyuz-TM 12.

Soyuz TM-13 spent 175 days docked to Mir, and returned to Earth near Dzhezkazgan on 25 March 1992 with cosmonauts Alexander Volkov (Russia), Sergei Krikalev (Ukraine) and Klaus-Dietrich Flade (Germany) aboard. Krikalev had launched from the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic of the USSR, and landed in independent Kazakhstan.

Comet C/1996 B2 (Hyakutake) approached within 0.1018 AUs (9.47 million miles, 1.52 million km) of Earth.

Died, E. Brian Trubshaw, British test pilot, first British pilot to fly Concorde (April 1969)

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