This Day in Geek History: June 13
Narratio de maculis in sole observatis et apparente earum cum sole conversione (Narration on Spots Observed on the Sun and their Apparent Rotation with the Sun), a publication concerning the newly discovered phenomenon of sunspots is dedicated. This first publication on such observations, is the work of Johannes Fabricius, a Dutch astronomer who was perhaps the first ever to observe sunspots. On March 9, 1611, at dawn, Johannes had used his telescope to view the rising sun and had seen several dark spots on it. He called his father to investigate this new phenomenon with him. The brightness of the Sun’s center was very painful, and the two quickly switched to a projection method of observation, by means of a camera obscura.
Charles Francis Jenkins gives the first public demonstration of the first mechanical television system that transmits “readily recognizable moving objects” from the Naval radio station NOF at Anacostia to his laboratory, both in Washington D.C. He calls his system “visions by radio.” It transmits images at a resolution of forty-eight scanning lines to depict a model of a Dutch windmill with turning blades.
Charles Lindbergh’s successful crossing of the Atlantic is celebrated in New York City with a ticker tape parade and ceremony at which Lindbergh is awarded the Flying Cross.
The first V-2 rocket, the world’s first long-range combat-ballistic missile, is launched from Peenemunde, Germany. It achieves an altitude of 1.3 kilometers.
The NASA space probe Pioneer 10 crosses the orbit of Neptune, becoming the first man-made object to leave the Solar System. It was launched on March 2, 1972 in a straight line away from the Sun at a constant velocity of about 12 km/sec toward the red star Aldebaran, which forms the eye of the constellation Taurus (The Bull).
Twentieth Century Fox releases the film The Manhattan Project, directed by Marshall Brickman and starring John Lithgow, Christopher Collet, and Cynthia Nixon, to 827 U.S. theaters. The title is an allusion to the World War II era U.S. nuclear program. In the film, a teenager constructs an atomic bomb out of plutonium stolen from a scientist dating his mother. He and his girlfriend then enter the bomb in a science fair in an attempt to make a political statement about nuclear proliferation, but when he is pursued by military agents he flees and activates the bomb. Produced on a budget of US$500,000, the film will gross US$1,503,545 domestically in its opening weekend. IMDB listing (MPAA Rating: PG-13) Running Time: 1 hr 57 mins
Microsoft, Tele-Communications Inc., and Time Warner Inc. announce a joint venture to develop interactive television software, which may one day allow consumers to bank, shop, and access the internet via televisions on a system designed to “combine the worlds of computing and television and perhaps shape how much of popular culture is delivered.”
Version 2.3 of the Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) cryptography application is released.
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