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August 25th in Astronomy and Space Science
Astronomical Event1719Mars makes an especially close approach to Earth only two days prior to opposition. The planet is so bright is it thought to be a bad omen and causes panic in some cities. Mars does not make an another approach this close until 2003.
Death1822German-British astronomer William Herschel dies. He discovered the planet Uranus and its two brightest moons, Titania and Oberon. He also discovered the polar ice caps of Mars, infrared radiation, and Mimas and Enceladus - two of the moons of Saturn. He catalogued nearly a thousand binary stars and 2,514 deep sky objects. The latter list, called the "The General Catalogue of Nebulae," was revised and enlarged by L.E. Dreyer in 1888 to became the "New General Catalog." To this day, most nebulae and galaxies are known by their NGC numbers.
Invention1835A series of articles appears in the New York Sun proclaiming that Sir John Herschel had discovered various forms of lunar life while studying the Moon from the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. The stories were a complete fabrication meant to increase readership.
Unmanned Spaceflight1962USSR attempts an unmanned Venus fly-by mission, but the spacecraft fails to leave Earth orbit.
Unmanned Spaceflight1981Voyager 2 flies by Saturn en route to Uranus. The spacecraft passes 41,000 km (26,000 miles) above Saturn's cloud tops. Images later reveal a new moon, Pan, orbiting within the Encke Division in Saturn's ring system.
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