In 1784, French astronomer Charles Messier compiled a list of non-stellar celestial objects. He had no understanding of what these items—now known to be galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters—actually were; he just wanted to further the search for comets by listing the indistinct objects that might be mistaken for them. Designations from his catalog are still used to refer to some nebulae and star clusters—for instance, M1 is the Crab Nebula and M45 is the Pleiades. What is a "Messier Marathon"?
Back in the day
More than a decade after a blaze on a train packed with Hindu pilgrims claimed 59 lives—many of the victims women and children—the debate rages on as to whether it was a tragic accident or deliberately set as part of a larger conspiracy. The train was passing through the Indian state of Gujarat when it was set upon by a Muslim mob near the Godhra train station and the fire broke out. Several investigations have yielded conflicting results as to the source of the blaze, yet what was done in 2011?
Born on a day like today
Though Anderson was recognized as one of the finest contraltos of her time, racism in the US limited her performing career. Her most electrifying moment came in 1939, when she was refused permission to sing in Washington's Constitution Hall. Outraged, then-first lady Eleanor Roosevelt arranged for Anderson to sing at the Lincoln Memorial instead. The concert was broadcast to great acclaim. Anderson continued to break down racial barriers, becoming the first black singer to perform where in 1955?