Supernova 1987A was located in the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nearby dwarf galaxy, approximately 168,000 light-years away, though close enough to be visible to the naked eye if you lived in the Southern Hemisphere. The light from the supernova reached Earth on February 23, 1987. It was the first opportunity for modern astronomers to see a supernova up close and observations have provided much insight into core-collapse supernovae. Voyager 2, then enroute to Neptune, was able to observe the supernova with its cameras.
George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 (and died December 14, 1799). We all know him as the 1st U.S. President (1789-1797), and as a great military leader. He was elected unanimously and oversaw the creation of a strong, well-financed government that maintained neutrality in the wars raging in Europe. He was born into a wealthy Colonial Virginia family, who owned tobacco plantations and slaves. He was mentored by William Fairfax, who promoted his career into the military. He quickly became a senior officer in the colonial forces during the French and Indian War.
What ever happened to the flying car? Why don’t we live like the Jetsons today? Waldo Waterman invented the first tailless monoplane, the first aircraft with modern tricycle landing gear, and the first successful low cost and simple to fly flying car. The idea behind the Arrowbile was to develop a transmission drive system that could operate the propeller for flight and the rear wheels for groudn operation. The aircraft was required to meet the certification standards of thee Bureau of Air Commerce. Waldo used readily available auto components for most of the vehicle.
On February 17, 1972, the Volkswagen Beetle overtook the Ford Model-T as the most popular car ever made. On this day, the 15,007,034 car rolled off the assembly line in Germany, making the new record for most highly produced car in history. This record was eventually surpassed by the Toyota Corolla, but there’s no doubt that the Beetle has one of the most recognizable designs, originating in pre-war Nazi Germany to present day – the look of the Beetle has remained largely unchanged.
The Battle of Fort Donelson was fought from February 11 to February 16, 1862. The capture of the fort by Union forces opened the Cumberland River as an avenue for the invasion of the South. The success elevated Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to the rank of major general, and earned him the nickname "Unconditional Surrender" Grant in the process. The battle followed the capture of Fort Henry on February 6. Grant moved his army 12 miles to Fort Donelson on February 12 and conducted several small probing attacks. On February 14, U.S. Navy gunboats under Flag Officer Andrew H.
During World War II, Singapore was a major British military base, nicknamed "Gibralter of the East." It was considered an impregnable fortress and it's fall, was a major blow to British forces. Prime Minister Winston Churchill called the defeat to the Japanese the "worst disaster" and "largest capitulation" in British history. Indeed, roughly 62,000 troops were taken prisoner and more than half had died as POWs. Singapore had been a British colony since the 19th Century. On February 8th, the first wave of Japanese troops landed on the island, outgunning British defense.
Happy Valentine’s Day! The legend of St. Valentine is one of mystery. The Catholic Church recognizes no less than three martyred saints in history with the name Valentine. One legend claims he was a Roman priest, third century. Emperor Claudius II decided single men made better soldiers and thus outlawed marriage for young men, but the priest saw the injustice and married young lovers in secret… until he was put to death for his actions. Other stories suggest Valentine had helped Christians escape from harsh Roman prisons, until he was put in one.
It’s World Radio Day, adopted by UNESCO in 2011. The proclamation was requested by the Spanish Radio Academy for February 13, on the anniversary of the establishment of United Nations Radio in 1946. Various radio industry bodies around the world are supporting the initiative by encouraging stations in developed countries to assist those in the developing world. See more about World Radio Day on the official website.
The Midway Atoll is a 2.4 square-mile group of formerly-inhabited islands claimed by the United State between Hawaii and Japan. It is currently home to the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and is open to the public for visitors interested in ecology and military history. Indeed, Midway played a significant role in the Pacific Campaign in World War II. The Battle of Midway was one of the most important naval battles in the war, which took place 70 years ago this June. Due to its strategic location, it became a convenient refueling stop for transpacific flights and Navy ships.