Make your own free website on

News Astro Events History Tips Info Base Reviews Bookstore Links Home
Astro Info Base

April in History

April 20, 1803 - A brilliant Lyrid meteor shower was seen, though an hourly rate of the meteors was not recorded.

April 26, 1803 - About 2,000 meteorites fell at L'Aigle in France. The citizens who picked them up reported that some of the fragments were still warm. The event was reported by French physicist Jean Baptiste Biot (1774-1862). This event was notable because it was not until Biot's published report that scientists finally accepted the fact that solid bodies were falling to Earth from outer space.

April 5, 1804 - A meteorite weighing 10 pounds fell in High Possil, Glasgow, Scotland.

April 29, 1844 - A small shower of meteors fell on Killeter, Tyrone, Ireland. A few of the fragments were preserved.

April 20, 1876 - A meteorite weighing 7-3/4 pounds fell in Rawton, Shropshire, England.

April 21, 1922 - A fair display of the Lyrid meteor shower was seen, though an actual hourly rate of meteors is not known.

April 20, 1933 - A brilliant fireball with a greenish tint was seen from all parts of Oregon and Washington state. It was first observed over southern Oregon and traveled north-northeast, passing over Yakina, Washington. It was seen to burst into fragments and disappeared about thirty miles beyond Yakina.

April 12, 1961 - The Soviet spacecraft Vostok 1 was launched with cosmonaut Yuri A. Gagarin. Gagarin became the first human to orbit the earth. He made only one orbit, in a time of 1 hour 48 minutes, and returned to a landing in the Soviet Union. Gagarin ejected from the spacecraft after reentry and parachuted separately as was standard in all Vostok flights.

April 12-13, 1963 - On this night a spectrum of the planet Mars was taken at the Mount Wilson Observatory by L. D. Kaplan, G. Münch, and H. Spinrad of the California Institude of Technology and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This spectrum provided them with the first definite proof that there was water vapor in the Martian atmosphere. The detection of water vapor was made possible by observation of the Doppler shift of the lines in the Martian spectrum, which were mixed with the spectrum lines of Earth's atmosphere in the same observation.

April 1967 - Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Mikhailovich Komarov was the first man to die in a space mission when a parachute on his spacecraft failed during re-entry and the ship crashed to Earth.

April 25, 1969 - A fireball was seen traveling north-east over England, Wales and Ireland, visible over a distance of 310 miles (500 kilometers). The meteor fragmented toward the end of its path, creating sonic booms. Two meteorite fragments were recovered some 37 miles (60 kilometers) apart, the larger at Bovedy, Northern Ireland, which gave its name to the fall.

April 5, 1973 - An Atlas-Centaur rocket launched the U.S. spacecraft Pioneer 11 toward the planet Jupiter. Pioneer 11 performed the second flyby of Jupiter and the first flyby of Saturn.

April 18, 1986 - A Titan missile believed to be carrying a U.S. military satellite exploded shortly after launch from the Vandenberg Air Force Base launch site in California.

J. M. Thomas, last updated November 15, 1999.

Be sure to visit the Base Bookstore, an affiliate of

News Astro Events History Tips Info Base Reviews Bookstore Links Home