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1980

Voyager 1 flies by Saturn

More than three years after its launch, the U.S. planetary probe Voyager 1 edges within 116,000 miles of Saturn, the second-largest planet in the solar system. The photos beamed 950 million miles back to California stunned scientists. The high-resolution images showed a world that seemed to confound all known laws of physics. Saturn had not four, but hundreds of rings.

The rings appeared... Read more >

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1990

Akihito enthroned as emperor of Japan

Crown Prince Akihito, the 125th Japanese monarch along an imperial line dating back to 660 B.C., is enthroned as emperor of Japan two years after the death of his father. Akihito, the only son of the late Emperor Hirohito, was the first Japanese monarch to reign solely as an official figurehead. His father, Hirohito, began his reign in 1926 as theoretically absolute, though his powers were shar... Read more >

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1799

First meteor shower on record

Andrew Ellicott Douglass, an early American astronomer born in Vermont, witnesses the Leonids meteor shower from a ship off the Florida Keys. Douglass, who later became an assistant to the famous astronomer Percival Lowell, wrote in his journal that the “whole heaven appeared as if illuminated with sky rockets, flying in an infinity of directions, and I was in constant expectation of some of ... Read more >