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Halley's Comet passed perihelion in its twenty-third known passage, as determined from records by Chinese astronomers.

In 2000 years of observations since 240 BCE, Chinese records have never missed a return of Halley's Comet. From those records, Cowell and Crommelin computed the dates of perihelion passage as:

 1. 15 May 240 BCE
 2. 20 May 163 BCE
 3. 15 August 87 BCE
 4. 8 October 12 BCE
 5. 26 January 66 CE
 6. 25 March 141 CE
 7. 6 April 218 CE
 8. 7 April 295 CE
 9. 13 February 374 CE
10. 3 July 451 CE
11. 15 November 530 CE
12. 26 March 607 CE
13. 26 November 684 CE
14. 10 June 760 CE
15. 25 February 837 CE
16. 17 July 912 CE
17. 2 September 989 CE
18. 25 March 1066 CE
19. 19 April 1145 CE
20. 10 September 1222 CE
21. 22.7 October 1301 CE
22. 8.8 November 1378 CE
23. 8.2 January 1456 CE
24. 25.8 August 1531 CE
25. 26.9 October 1607 CE
26. 14.8 September 1682 CE
27. 12.6 March 1758 CE
28. 15.9 November 1835 CE
29. 19.7 April 1910 CE
30. 9 February 1986 CE

Note that the precision of the dates from passage 21 onward could be computed with increased accuracy because of additional observations. However, at the time of their computation, the 1986 passage was still a future event. (The actual date was found from other sources.)

On 19 April 607, Comet 1P/607 H1 (Halley) approached within 0.0898 AU (13.5 million km, 8.4 million miles) of Earth. On 374-April-1.9, it had approached closer, having come within 0.0884 AU (13.2 million km, 8.2 million miles), and on 837-April-10.5, it became the third closest approach in history prior to 1900, passing within 0.0334 AU (5 million km, 3.1 million miles).

On 16 October 1982, astronomers David Jewitt and G. Edward Danielson using a CCD camera with the 5.1 m Hale telescope at Mt. Palomar Observatory were the first to detect Halley's Comet on its thirtieth recorded return.

See also The past orbit of Halley's Comet (SAO/NASA ADS)

See also Comet Close Approaches prior to 1900 (CNEOS)

See also History of Halley's Comet (Wikipedia)

See also Halley's Comet (CQ Press)

See also Comet 1P/Halley (Halley's Comet) (Smithsonian NASM)
ref: adsabs.harvard.edu

Born, Johannes Fabricius, Denmark, astronomer (discovered sunspots)
ref: www2.hao.ucar.edu

Died, Galileo Galilei, Tuscan astronomer, father of the scientific method

Galileo Galilei (15 February 1564 - 8 January 1642), was a Tuscan astronomer, philosopher, and physicist who is closely associated with the scientific revolution. His achievements include improving the telescope, a variety of astronomical observations (including discovery of Jupiter's largest moons), the first law of motion, and supporting Copernicanism effectively. He has been referred to as the "father of modern astronomy", as the "father of modern physics", and as the "father of science." His experimental work is widely considered complementary to the writings of Francis Bacon in establishing the modern scientific method. Galileo's career coincided with that of Johannes Kepler. His work is considered to be a significant break from that of Aristotle, and his conflict with the Roman Catholic Church is taken as a major early example of the conflict of religion and freedom of thought, particularly with science, in Western society.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Comet C/1760 A1 (Great comet) approached within 0.0682 AUs of Earth (approx. 6.34 million miles), the seventeenth closest in recorded history.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Jean Foucault demonstrated definitively that the Earth rotates on its axis.
ref: www.timeanddate.com

Born, Sir Frank Watson Dyson, English Astronomer Royal (proved Einstein right about light being bent by gravity)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Herman Hollerith received U.S. Patent 395,782 for his electric tabulating machine, the tabulator, the first device for data processing; his firm later became one of IBM's founding companies.
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Born, Walther Bothe, German physicist (Nobel 1954 "for the coincidence method and his discoveries made therewith")

Walther Wilhelm Georg Bothe (8 January 1891 - 8 February 1957) was a German physicist, mathematician, chemist, and Nobel Prize winner. Bothe won a Nobel Prize in Physics for 1954 (along with Max Born) for his invention of the coincidence circuit: He discovered that if a single particle is detected by two or more Geiger counters, the detection will be practically coincident in time. Using this observation, he constructed the coincidence circuit allowing several counters in coincidence to determine the angular momentum of a particle. Bothe's coincidence circuit was one of the first AND logic gate (1924). Bothe studied the Compton effect using such a set up and establishing the modern analysis of scatter processes.
ref: www.nobelprize.org

A. Charlois discovered asteroids #379 Huenna and #380 Fiducia.

P. Gotz discovered asteroids #554 Peraga and #556 Phyllis.

J. H. Metcalf discovered asteroid #660 Crescentia.

Born, Joseph Weizenbaum, artificial intelligence pioneer
ref: en.wikipedia.org

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1152 Pawona.

H. L. Giclas discovered asteroid #3177.

A. C. Hardy patented the spectrophotometer, an instrument to measure a light beam's intensity as a function of its color (wavelength).
ref: en.wikipedia.org

K. Reinmuth discovered asteroid #1409 Isko, #1410 Margret and #1411 Brauna.

Born, Stephen Hawking, English theoretical physicist and author
ref: en.wikipedia.org

Born, Vyacheslav Dmitriyevich Zudov (at Bor, Gorki Oblast, Russian SFSR), Soviet cosmonaut (Soyuz 23; just over 2d in spaceflight)
Cosmonauts Vyacheslav Zudov (left) and Valery Rozhdestvensky portrayed on a USSR postage stamp (1977)Source: Wikipedia 320px-Soyuz-23.JPG
Cosmonauts Vyacheslav Zudov (left) and Valery Rozhdestvensky portrayed on a USSR postage stamp (1977)
Source: Wikipedia
ref: www.spacefacts.de

M. Laugier discovered asteroid #2068 Dangreen.

Died, Antonia Caetana de Paiva Pereira Maury, American astronomer (stellar spectra, discoverer of supergiant, giant & dwarf stars)
ref: en.wikipedia.org

S. Arend discovered asteroid #1717 Arlon.

H. Potter and A. Lokalov discovered asteroid #2975.

1973 06:55:38 GMT
USSR launched Luna 21 carrying the Lunokhod 2 rover, the second robotic Lunar rover.
USSR Lunokhod 2 Lunar rover, image courtesy of NASA lunokhod2.jpg
USSR Lunokhod 2 Lunar rover, image courtesy of NASA

The Luna 21 spacecraft, launched 8 January 1973, landed on the Moon on 15 January, and deployed the second Soviet Lunar rover (Lunokhod 2) on 16 January, which traversed 37 km across the Lunar surface over four months. The primary objectives of the mission were to collect images of the Lunar surface, examine ambient light levels to determine the feasibility of astronomical observations from the Moon, perform laser ranging experiments from Earth, observe solar X-rays, measure local magnetic fields, and study mechanical properties of the Lunar surface material.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

L. Kohoutek discovered asteroid #2375.

A. Mrkos discovered asteroid #2367 Praha.

E. Bowell discovered asteroids #3277 Aaronson, #3759 and #3760; and J. Wagner discovered asteroids #3045 Alois, #3512, #3562 and #3589.

1985 19:26:00 GMT
Japan launched the Sakigake mission to Comet Halley.
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

1994 10:05:00 GMT
USSR launched the manned spacecraft Soyuz TM-18 into orbit for the 18th expedition to Mir, carrying a crew of three (Viktor Afanasyev, Yury Usachov, Valeri Polyakov).
ref: nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

Cosmologists announced that the rate of expansion of the universe is increasing.
ref: arxiv.org

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