On this day in science history: 13 June

From the days of ancient technology to modern science - find out what happened on this day in the history of science.

13th June 2017
Sunspots © NASA/SOHO/AFP/Getty Images

© NASA/SOHO/AFP/Getty Images

1611 - Sunspots appear in literature

German medical student, Johannes Fabricius, publishes a book titled ‘Narration on Spots Observed on the Sun and their Apparent Rotation with the Sun,’ the first publication on the subject. However, Fabricius was not the first to discover sunspots - records exist of Chinese astronomers noting their existence as early as 800 BC. Sunspots are large cooled areas of the Sun’s photosphere, the causes of which are largely unknown, but they are currently thought to be due to interactions with the Sun’s magnetic field.

Listen: Waveguide - Listening to Sunspots

1983 - First man-made object to leave the Solar System

Pioneer 10 © John G. Mabanglo/AFP/Getty Images
© John G. Mabanglo/AFP/Getty Images

Space probe Pioneer 10 crosses Neptune's orbit (then the outermost planet in the Solar System) to become the first man-made object to leave the Solar System. It remained the farthest human-made object in existence until 1998 when it is overtaken by Voyager 1. Equipped with 11 scientific instruments, it was the first spacecraft directed towards interstellar space. The last signal was detected from the spacecraft on 23 January 2003. 

Watch: Pioneers survive radiation and asteroids

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