* First telephone directory published, 50 names, New Haven, CT (1878).

* Supernova seen in Scorpius (A.D. 393).

* First transcontinental flight within 24 hours, made by Lt. W. D. Coney in a DH-4B from San Diego, Calif., to Jacksonville, Fla., in 22 hours and 27 minutes (1921).

* School for Flight Surgeons at Mitchell Field recognized as a Special Service School in War Department General Order No. 7 (1921).

* DeBothezat helicopter achieved sustained altitude of 15 feet for 2 minutes and 45 seconds in flight tests at McCook Field (1923).

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* Transcontinental airmail service began (1923).

* Heinrich Hertz, physicist, born (1857).

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* Pioneer 11 became the 4th spacecraft to escape the Solar System after being launched in the year 1973 (1990).

* Ian Shelton discovered first "naked eye" supernova since 1604 (1987). (Click here on"A Star Death - Supernova 1987a" for more.)

* Successful development of special goggles, heated gloves, and a device for warming oxgyen before use announced by Wright Field (1929).

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* V-2/WAC-Corporal rocket, launched by Americans from White Sands, NM, set an altitude record of 244 miles using WAC-Corporal stage (1949).

* Jocelyn Bell discovered first pulsar (1968).

* Macy automatic pilot tests were begun at San Diego, California (1915).

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* Luna 20 returned core sample from Moon's Sea of Fertility, parachuting to Earth in a snow storm in the U.S.S.R. (1972).

* Winter is the shortest season, lasting only 88 days, 23 hours, 51 minutes.

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* Last total eclipse of the Sun in this century for continental U.S. (1979). (See August 21).

Characteristics of the Sun are shown:

(1) Core; (2) Convection Zone; (3) Photosphere; (4) Chromosphere; (5) Solar Prominance; and (6) Sun Spots. Click on the above button for additional information about the Sun.

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* Discovery of radio waves from the Sun (1942).

Solar flares like the one pictured from a spectroheliogram taken by Skylab 3 in 1974 cause radio interference on Earth.

* First performance of Holst's "The Planets" (1919).

* Corp. C. E. Conrad (USAS) successfully parachuted from 21,500 feet, from DH-4B over Kelly Field, Texas (1924).

* World altitude record of 33,113 feet set by Maj. R. W. Schroeder (USA) in a LePere-Liberty 400, at McCook Field, Dayton, Ohio (1920).

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* A comet, brighter than Venus, was observed in daylight. Its tail was 180 million miles long (1943).

* Linus Pauling born (1901).

* Full Moon.

* Navy issued contract for XPY-1 flying boat to Consolidated Aircraft, the first large monoplane flying boat procured and the initial configuration which evolved into the PBY Catalina (1928).

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* Only in a "Leap Year," is an extra day added to the month of February. This is February 29th in Leap Years. To understand the reason for an added "Leap Year Day," read the following information.

(The following is paraphrased from "The Universal Almanac: 1990," John W. Wright, Andrews and McMeel, Kansas City, Missouri, 1989, p. 14.)

How Did We Get Leap Year?

When Julius Caesar possessed an empire of many lands and countries, he understood that the various countries used different calendars. It was the year 46 B.C. when he asked his astronomer Sosigenes to deal with this by creating a single uniform calendar. As an astronomer, Sosigenes knew it took about 365.25 Earth revolutions for one Earth orbit around the Sun. A single orbit around the Sun was considered one year, but the year's first day would not happen at the same position of the Earth with regard to its orbit if something was not done to deal with the slight .25 day excess time required each year if a year was made to be 365 twenty-four (24) hour days.

To correct this situation, an extra day was added every fourth year. This day was called a "leap day" and the fourth year was in turn called a "leap year" because it would be given an extra day. Leap years have 366 days instead of 365 days.

Later, around the year A.D. 730, astronomers found the length of the year was not exactly 365.25 days but slightly shorter by a fraction of a second. Now days, the solar year is becoming shorter than before, and to correct for this, astronomers add one second whenever the error amounts to one second. They make this adjustment usually on December 31 at midnight.

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