A Space and Astronomy Timeline
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The First Millennium (0001 - 1000AD)
Solar eclipse. Greek planetary theory. Aristotle's methodology and physics. Euclid on geometry. Ptolemy on geography and Earth as the center of the Universe.
5th to 10th Centuries (401 - 1100)
The Second Millennium (1001 - 2000AD)
Astronomy. Paper. Gunpowder. Compass. Dark Ages in Europe. Arabia, China and India science advances. Base-10 numeration. Albategnius planetary motion.
11th Century (1001 - 1100)
Crab Nebula supernova explosion. Halley's Comet on Bayeux Tapestry. Camera obscura. Chinese movable type. Persian and Islamic science.
12th Century (1101 - 1200)
Chinese rockets. Magnetic compass.
13th Century (1201 - 1300)
Chinese rocket arrows. Korean movable type. Bacon describes gunpowder. Mechanical clocks. Eyeglasses. Reduction of Aristotle's methodology and physics. Experimental method in science. Vision, light, color. Quantitative reasoning. Accelerated motion. Impetus.
14th Century (1301 - 1400)
Motion of Earth. Infinite Universe. Persians and Islam Arabs preserve science learning.
15th Century (1401 - 1500)
Renaissance in Europe. European observatory. Gutenberg's press. Pliny observatory. Halley's Comet observations. Columbus explores the New World. Leonardo da Vinci.
16th Century (1501 - 1600)
Magellan circumnavigates globe. Copernicus sees a heliocentric Universe with Earth and planets revolving around the Sun. Mercator makes cylindrical map projections. Brahe observes a supernova. New Gregorian Calendar. Kepler's Mysteries of the Cosmos.
17th Century (1601 - 1700)
Refracting telescope. Western science challenges Chinese superiority. Appearance of Halley's Comet. Galileo uses telescope to see craters on the Moon and the moons of Jupiter. Inquisition forces Galileo to recant his belief in Copernican theory. Kepler describes laws of planetary motion. Briggs introduces decimal notation. Newton discovers composition of light and sets forth laws of gravity and motion. Greenwich Royal Observatory built by Christopher Wren.
18th Century (1701 - 1800)
Newton's theory of optics. Halley identified his comet and is appointed Astronomer Royal at Greenwich. Bradley discovers aberration of light and is appointed Astronomer Royal at Greenwich. Newton's Principia translated into English. Transit Room built at Greenwich Royal Observatory, home of Bradley's Greenwich Meridian. Franklin shows that lightning is electricity. Britain adopts Gregorian calendar, eleven days lost. Industrial Revolution begins with Arkwright spinning machine. Herschel discovers Uranus. Laplace publishes Laws of the Planetary System. Hutton starts scientific geology.
19th Century (1801 - 1900)
William Herschel infrared rays. Volta electricity and battery. Dalton atomic theory of matter. Berzelius table of atomic weights. Orsted electricity with magnetism. Niepce first photograph. Faraday electromagnetic induction. Babbage analytical engine. Morse telegraph. First telegraphic cable prompts international time. Shepherd Master Clock at Greenwich. Spectroscopy reveals chemical composition of stars. Darwin The Origin of Species. Lenoir internal-combustion engine. Maxwell electromagnetism. Mendeleyev periodic table of elements. Bell telephone. Edison electric light. Greenwich Mean Time. Venus and Sun-grazing comet photographed. Barnard wide-angle photograph of Milky Way galaxy and comets. Roentgen x-rays. Marconi wireless signals. Curie radium and polonium. 40-in. refractor telescope in Wisconsin.
20th Century (1901 - 1950)
20th Century (1951 - 2000)
Planck quantum theory. Cannon catalog of stellar spectra. Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk. Rutherford and Soddy radioactivity. Einstein theories of special and general relativity and gravity. Barnard photographs Milky Way. Sound broadcast over radio. Comet explodes over Siberia. Mount Wilson 60-inch reflector telescope. Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. Great January Comet brightest of century. Rutherford structure of nuclear atom. Leavitt Cepheid variable stars. Bohr atomic structure. Adams spots white dwarf star. Schwarzschid suggests black holes swallow matter. Shapley sees Solar System near the edge, not in the middle, of Milky Way. Mount Wilson 100-inch telescope. Ritchey locates faint light from erupting novae stars. Eddington photographs total solar eclipse. Pease and Anderson measure diameter of star beyond Sun. Hubble identifies Cepheid variable stars in Andromeda Nebula. Appleton and Barnett ionosphere. Canals on Mars. Baird transmits human features by television. Payne-Gaposchkin stellar atmosphere temperature scale. Goddard liquid fuel rocket. Lindblad says galaxies rotate. Farnsworth television. Lemaitre proposes Big Bang for Universe origin. Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Dirac antimatter. Hubble distances to galaxies. Russell sees Deep Space mostly hydrogen. Tombaugh find Pluto. Trumpler finds dust clouds along Milky Way. Chandrasekhar white dwarf stars. Schmidt camera. Pauli neutrinos. Lawrence cyclotron. Jansky radio waves from the sky. Radioastronomy. Adams and Dunham discover carbon dioxide around Venus. Chadwick neutron. Anderson antimatter. Baade and Zwicky predict supernovas produce neutron stars. Reber radiotelescope. Zwicky finds most matter in Coma Cluster of galaxies is invisible. Welles broadcasts War of the Worlds. Bethe sees fusion reactions in stars and carbon cycle. Hale 200-inch telescope. Second World War inventions, radar, electronics. Kuiper finds Uranus moon Miranda, Neptune moon Nereid, atmosphere around Saturn moon Titan. Nuclear reactor. Fermi first artificial nuclear chain reaction. Digital computer. Lovell and Ryle science of radioastronomy. Ryle discovers brightest radio source beyond our galaxy. Yeager breaks sound barrier. Transistor invented at Bell Labs. Alpher and Herman cosmic background radiation. Rockets at White Sands. Palomar Observatory photographs entire visible sky. Oort Cloud at outer reaches of Solar System. Hoyle skeptical of Big Bang. Color television. Ewan and Purcell electromagnetic radiation from interstellar hydrogen. U.S.S.R. Sputnik 1. Space Age. Burbidge, Burbidge, Fowler and Hoyle show stars create heavy elements. Army Jupiter-C rockets first U.S. satellite to orbit. Explorer 1 discovers Van Allen radiation belts. Abell galaxy clusters catalog. NASA. U.S.S.R. Luna 1 first human-made object to leave Earth gravity. U.S.S.R. Lunik 2 first human-made object to reach another world as it crashes into Moon. U.S.S.R. Lunik 3 first to photograph back of Moon. Integrated circuit. Vostok, Voskhod, Mercury, Gemini, Apollo space flights. Echo first communication satellite. Maimon laser. U.S.S.R. sends Gagarin as first human to orbit Earth. Shepard first U.S. spaceman. Grissom second. Glenn first American in orbit. U.S. Mariner 2 first successful flyby of another planet, Venus. Schmidt discovers quasars are extremely energetic objects at great distance. U.S.S.R. Venera 3 is first to reach another planet, Venus. Penzias and Wilson find cosmic background radiation fading echo of Big Bang. U.S.S.R. cosmonaut Alexei Leonov first spacewalk. U.S. Mariner 4 first flyby of Mars. Leonid meteor shower greatest of century with 100,000 hits per hour. Apollo astronauts Grissom, White, Chaffee die in capsule fire. Bell-Burnell and Hewish pulsar. Gamma-ray burst detected. Apollo 8 first manned craft to leave Earth gravity. Apollo 11 astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin, Collins travel to Moon. Armstrong and Aldrin land. Advanced Research Projects Agency's (ARPA) precursor to Internet online. U.S. Air Force "Blue Book" reports no UFOs. U.S.S.R. Venera 7 broadcasts 23 minutes of data from Venus. U.S. Pioneer 10 first human-made object to leave Solar System. U.S.S.R. Mars 3 makes soft landing on Mars. U.S. Mariner 9 in orbit around Mars, revealing dry riverbeds, deep canyons, volcanos. U.S. space station Skylab astronauts. Pioneer 10 passes Jupiter. Mariner 10 passes Mercury. Hawking says black holes can radiate energy slowly. Hulse and Taylor binary pulsar. Apollo 18 and Soyuz 19 rendezvous. Viking 1 and 2 land on Mars. Comet West. Voyager 1 and 2 leave Earth, send images from Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune. Uranus rings. Christy finds Pluto moon Charon. Voyager 1 and 2 pass Jupiter. Pioneer 11 passes Saturn. Gravitational lens. Voyager 1 passes Saturn. Theory that asteroid or comet caused mass extinction 65 million years ago. Columbia, first space shuttle, flies. Voyager 2 passes Saturn. Guth inflationary early universe. Millisecond pulsar. Ride is first U.S. woman in space. Pioneer 10 leaves Solar System. Direct broadcast satellite TV. Voyager 2 passes Uranus. Challenger explodes, killing seven. U.S.S.R. space station Mir. Halley's Comet returns. Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) replaces Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Supernova 1987A brightest supernova in 400 years. Voyager 2 passes Neptune. Hubble Space Telescope. Magellan Venus radar map. Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) finds ripples in microwave background. Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. World Wide Web. Astronomers say tiny ripples in comsic background radiation are seeds from which largest structures in the Universe formed. Russian space station hosts Americans. U.S. shuttle docks at Russian space station. Mars meteroite indicates life. Comet Hale-Bopp closest to Earth before 4397. Heaven's Gate cult suicide. Pathfinder on Mars. U.S. commercial spy satellite. Chinese use of U.S. satellites. Glenn returns to orbit. Collins first female to command shuttle. Mir abandoned. NASA loses Mars Climate Orbiter and Polar Lander. Earth population six billion human beings. Chandra X-Ray Observatory telescope.
The Third Millennium (2001 - 3000AD)
What does the future hold?
Space Infrared Telescope Facility. Completion of International Space Station. Cassini at Saturn. Terrestrial planet finder. Explorers on Mars for 612 days. Third and fourth generation reusable launch vehicles. Interstellar travel.
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