Timeline of United States discoveries encompasses the breakthroughs of human thought and knowledge of new scientific findings, phenomena, places, things, and what was previously unknown to exist. From a historical stand point, the timeline below of United States discoveries dates from the 18th century to the current 21st century, which have been achieved by discoverers who are either native-born or naturalized citizens of the United States.
In physics, charge conservation is the principle that electric charge can neither be created nor destroyed. The quantity of electric charge, the amount of positive charge minus the amount of negative charge in the universe, is always conserved. As part of his groundbreaking work in electricity, Benjamin Franklin around the year 1747 discovered the principle of charge conservation when he came to the conclusion that the two states of electricity, positive and negative, the charge is never created or destroyed but instead transferable from one place to another.
Tabuaeran, also known as Fanning Island or Fanning Atoll (both Gilbertese and English names are recognized) is one of the Line Islands located in the central Pacific Ocean. With a population of approximately 2,500, much of the island's economy relies upon the cruise industry. Formerly under British rule, Tabuaeran now is a part of the Republic of Kiribati. Tabuaeran was discovered on June 11, 1798 by U.S. Captain Edmund Fanning, at 3 a.m., while on a voyage to China aboard his ship, Betsy.
Teraina, also known as Washington Island, is an inhabited coral atoll located in the central Pacific Ocean that is 282 nautical miles (522km) north of the equator, 75 miles (121km) northwest of Tabuaeran, 238 miles (383km) northwest of Christmas Island, and 120 miles (190km) southeast of the U.S. territory of Palmyra Atoll. Formerly under British rule, Teraina is now a part of the Republic of Kiribati. Obsolete names of Teraina are Prospect Island and New York Island. The island consists of nine Polynesian villages. Teraina was discovered by U.S. Captain Edmund Fanning, in the American ship Betsy, on June 12, 1798.
The South Orkney Islands are a group of islands in the Southern Ocean, about 375 miles (604km) northeast of the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. As part of the British Antarctic Territory, the islands have a total area of about 240 square miles (620km2). In December 1821, Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer as commander of the James Monroe, along with British sealer George Powell, co-discovered the South Orkney Islands.
Chloroform is a chemical compound in the trihalomethane family that does not undergo combustion in air, although it will burn when mixed with more flammable substances. Chloroform was first discovered in July 1831 by American physician Samuel Guthrie, independently a few months later by French chemist Eugène Soubeiran and then by German chemist Justus von Liebig.
Hadrosaurus was a dubious genus of a hadrosaurid dinosaur that lived near what is now the coast of New Jersey in the late Cretaceous, around 80 million years ago. It was likely bipedal for the purposes of running, but could use its forelegs to support itself while grazing. Like all hadrosaurids, Hadrosaurus was herbivorous. Its teeth suggest it ate twigs and leaves. In the summer of 1858 while vacationing in Haddonfield, New Jersey, William Parker Foulke discovered the world's first nearly-complete skeleton of any species of dinosaur, the Hadrosaurus (named by Joseph Leidy), an event that would rock the scientific world and forever change our view of natural history. To this day, Haddonfield, New Jersey is considered to be "ground zero" of dinosaur paleontology.
Petroleum jelly, petrolatum or soft paraffin is a semi-solid mixture of hydrocarbons originally promoted as a topical ointment for its healing properties. The raw material for petroleum jelly was discovered in 1859 by Robert Chesebrough, a chemist from New York. In 1870, this product was branded as Vaseline Petroleum Jelly.
The chemical potential, symbolized by μ, is a thermodynamic concept developed by the American scientist Josiah Willard Gibbs in his 1873 paper A Method of Geometrical Representation of the Thermodynamic Properties of Substances by Means of Surfaces. Gibbs's work had an enormous impact on the development of modern physical chemistry.
The Red Delicious is a clone of applecultigen, now comprising more than 50 cultivars. The Red Delicious apple was discovered in 1875 by Jesse Hiatt on his farm in Peru, Iowa. Believing that the seedling was nothing more than nuisance. After chopping down the tree three times, Hiatt decided to let the tree grow and eventually, it produced an unknown and new harvest of red apples. Hiatt would eventually sell the rights to this type of apple to the Stark Brothers Nurseries and Orchards who renamed it the Red Delicious.
Torosaurus was a herbivorous dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous Period about 70 million years ago in what is now North America. Torosaurus had an enormous head that measured 8 feet (2.5 m) in length. Its skull is one of the largest known up to date, no other land animal has ever had a skull larger than Torosaurus. Torosaurus frill made up about one-half the total skull length. The first fossils of Torosaurus were discovered in 1889, in Wyoming by John Bell Hatcher. The American paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh would later name the specimen Torosaurus latus, in recognition of the bull-like size of its skull and its large eyebrow horns. Ever since, the specimen has been in display at the Peabody Museum in New Haven, Connecticut.
Thescelosaurus was a bipedal dinosaur with a sturdy build, small wide hands, and a long pointed snout from the Late Cretaceous Period, approximately 66 million years ago. As a herbivore, Thescelosaurus was not a tall dinosaur and probably browsed the ground selectively to find food. Its leg structure and proportionally heavy build suggests that it was not a fast runner like other dinosaurs. The first fossils of Thescelosaurus were co-discovered in 1891 by John Bell Hatcher and William H. Utterback, in Wyoming. However, this discovery remained stored until Charles W. Gilmore named the dinosaur in 1913.
Phoebe is an irregular satellite of Saturn. It was discovered by William Henry Pickering on March 17, 1899 from photographic plates that had been taken starting on August 16, 1898 at Arequipa, Peru by DeLisle Stewart.
Tyrannosaurus, a bipedal carnivore, is a genus of theropod dinosaur. The species Tyrannosaurus rex, commonly abbreviated to T. rex, is a fixture in popular culture. It lived throughout what is now western North America, with a much wider range than other tyrannosaurids. Fossils are found in a variety of rock formations dating to the last two million years of the Cretaceous Period, 67 to 66 million years ago. It was among the last non-avian dinosaurs to exist prior to the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event. In 1902, the first skeleton of Tyrannosaurus was discovered in Hell Creek, Montana by American paleontologist Barnum Brown. In 1908, Brown discovered a better preserved skeleton of Tyrannosaurus.
Seyfert galaxies are a class of galaxies with nuclei that produce spectral line emission from highly ionized gas, named after Carl Keenan Seyfert, the astronomer who first identified the class in 1943 although they were first discovered by Edward A. Fath in 1908 while he was at the Lick Observatory.
The formation of Burgess shale — located in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia— is one of the world's most celebrated fossil fields, and the best of its kind. It is famous for the exceptional preservation of the soft parts of its fossils. It is 508 million years (Middle Cambrian) old, one of the earliest soft-parts fossil beds. The rock unit is a black shale, and crops out at a number of localities near the town of Field, British Columbia in the Yoho National Park. The Burgess Shale was discovered by American palaeontologist Charles Doolittle Walcott in 1909, towards the end of the season's fieldwork. He returned in 1910 with his sons, establishing a quarry on the flanks of Fossil Ridge. The significance of soft-bodied preservation, and the range of organisms he recognized as new to science, led him to return to the quarry almost every year until 1924. At this point, aged 74, he had amassed over 65,000 specimens. Describing the fossils was a vast task, pursued by Walcott until his death in 1927.
Propane is a three-carbon alkane, normally a gas, but compressible to a transportable liquid. It is derived from other petroleum products during oil or natural gas processing. It is commonly used as a fuel for engines, barbecues, portable stoves, and residential central heating. Propane was first identified as a volatile component in gasoline by Dr. Walter O. Snelling of the U.S. Bureau of Mines in 1910.
Golden Delicious is a large, yellow skinned cultivar of apple and very sweet to the taste. The original Golden Delicious tree is thought to have been discovered by Anderson Mullins on a hill near Porter Creek in Clay County, West Virginia. The Stark Brothers Nursery soon purchased the tree which spawned a leading cultivar in the United States and abroad. The Golden Delicious is the state fruit of West Virginia.
A Zener diode is a type of diode that permits current in the forward direction like a normal diode, but also in the reverse direction if the voltage is larger than the breakdown voltage known as "Zener knee voltage" or "Zener voltage". The device was named after Clarence Zener, who discovered this electrical property.
Barnard's Star is a very low-mass red dwarf star. At a distance of about 1.8 parsecs from the Solar System, or just under six light-years, Barnard's Star is the nearest-known star in the constellation Ophiuchus, and the fourth-closest known individual star to the Sun, after the three components of the Alpha Centauri system. In 1916, Barnard's Star was discovered by American astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard, whom the star was named after.
The idea of covalent bonding can be traced several years to Gilbert N. Lewis, who in 1916 described the sharing of electron pairs between atoms. He introduced the so-called Lewis notation or electron dot notation or The Lewis Dot Structure in which valence electrons are represented as dots around the atomic symbols.
Heparin, a highly sulfated glycosaminoglycan, is widely used as an injectable anticoagulant and has the highest negative charge density of any known biological molecule. It can also be used to form an inner anticoagulant surface on various experimental and medical devices such as test tubes and renal dialysis machines. It was discovered by Jay McLean and William Henry Howell in 1916.
Vitamin A, a bi-polar molecule formed with bi-polar covalent bonds between carbon and hydrogen, is linked to a family of similarly shaped molecules, the retinoids, which complete the remainder of the vitamin sequence. Its important part is the retinyl group, which can be found in several forms. In foods of animal origin, the major form of vitamin A is an ester, primarily retinyl palmitate, which is converted to an alcohol in the small intestine. Vitamin A can also exist as an aldehyde, or as an acid. The discovery of vitamin A stemmed from research dating back to 1906, indicating that factors other than carbohydrates, proteins, and fats were necessary to keep cattle healthy. By 1917 one of these substances was independently discovered by Elmer McCollum at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Lafayette Mendel and Thomas Osborne at Yale University.
Uncle Sam is a 40.23-carat white diamond, the largest diamond ever found in North America. Discovered in 1924 at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas, the diamond was named after its discoverer, Wesley Oley Basham, who went by the nickname "Uncle Sam". Over the years, the Uncle Sam diamond was cut twice with the second cutting resulting in a 12.42-carat, emerald-cut gem.
Extragalactic astronomy is the branch of astronomy concerned with objects outside the Milky Way Galaxy. In other words, it is the study of all astronomical objects which are not covered by galactic astronomy. It was started by Edwin Hubble when, in 1925, he discovered the existence of Cepheid variables in the Andromeda Galaxy. This discovery proved the existence of a galaxy over one million light-years away and thus extragalactic astronomy was created.
Electron diffraction is a collective scattering phenomenon with electrons being scattered by atoms in a regular crystal array. This can be understood in analogy to the Huygens principle for the diffraction of light. The incoming plane electron wave interacts with the atoms, and secondary waves are generated which interfere with each other. In 1927, two Americans named Clinton Davisson and Lester Germer had proven de Broglie's theory by discovering electron diffraction. This confirmation of the wavelike nature of an electron was discovered independently of Englishman George Paget Thomson.
The Jones Diamond is a bluish-white diamond weighing 34.48 carats (6.896 g), measuring 5/8 of an inch (15.8mm) across, and possessing 12 diamond-shaped faces. It is considered to be the largest alluvial diamond from North America. The Jones Diamond was discovered by William P. "Punch" Jones and his father Grover while pitching horseshoes in 1928. They thought the stone was a piece of quartz which was common in the area. Keeping it in a cigar box in their tool shed for 14 years, the Jones's sent the gem to the geology department at Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1942 where they were informed that it was an alluvial diamond and not a quartz crystal. The diamond was then sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. for safekeeping until 1964, when it returned to the Jones family who kept it for another 20 years in a safe deposit box at their local bank in Virginia. In 1984, the Jones family finally sold the diamond at Sotheby's auction in New York City to a private collector of jewelry.
Following the discovery of the planet Neptune in 1846, there was considerable speculation that another planet might exist beyond its orbit. The search began in the mid-19th century but culminated at the start of the 20th century with a quest for Planet X. Percival Lowell proposed the Planet X hypothesis to explain apparent discrepancies in the orbits of the gas giants, particularly Uranus and Neptune, speculating that the gravity of a large unseen planet could have perturbed Uranus enough to account for the irregularities. The discovery of Pluto by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930 initially appeared to validate Lowell's hypothesis, and Pluto was considered the ninth planet until 2006.
Deuterium, also called heavy hydrogen, is a stable isotope of hydrogen with a natural abundance in the oceans of Earth of approximately one atom in 6500 of hydrogen (~154 PPM). It was discovered in 1931 by Harold Urey, who obtained a sample of hydrogen enriched in deuterium by distillation at low temperature and pressure.
Radio astronomy is a subfield of astronomy that studies celestial objects at radio frequencies. While trying to track down a source of electrical interference on telephone transmissions, Karl Guthe Jansky of Bell Telephone Laboratories discovered radio waves emanating from stars in outer space while investigating static that interfered with short wave transatlantic voice transmissions. Thus, the field of radio astronomy was born.
Homeostasis is the property of a system, either open or closed, that regulates its internal environment so as to maintain a stable, constant condition. It was first proposed and coined by Walter Bradford Cannon, a former professor and chairman of the Department of Physiology at Harvard Medical School, and popularized it in his book The Wisdom of the Body.
Polyvinylidene chloride is a polymer derived from vinylidene chloride. Its use can be found in water-based coating, the production of household items and industrial products. Ralph Wiley, a Dow Chemical lab worker, accidentally discovered polyvinylidene chloride in 1933.
An elliptical galaxy is a galaxy having an approximately elliptical shape and a smooth, nearly featureless brightness profile. They range in shape from nearly spherical to highly flattened and in size from hundreds of millions to over one trillion stars. It was originally described by Edwin Hubble in his 1936 work "The Realm of the Nebulae"
The muon is an elementary particle similar to the electron, with negative electric charge and a spin of 1⁄2. It was discovered by Carl D. Anderson and Seth Henry Neddermeyer in 1936 while they studied cosmic radiation.
Tocopherol, a class of chemical compounds of which many have vitamin E activity, describes a series of organic compounds consisting of various methylated phenols. During feeding experiments with rats Herbert McLean Evans concluded in 1922 that besides vitamins B and C, an unknown vitamin existed. Although every other nutrition was present, the rats were not fertile. This condition could be changed by additional feeding with wheat germ. It took several years until 1936 when the substance was isolated from wheat germ and the formula C29H50O2 was determined by Herbert McLean Evans and K.S. Bishop. The structure was determined shortly thereafter in 1938.
Sodium thiopental, better known as Sodium Pentothal, thiopentone sodium, or trapanal, is a rapid-onset short-acting barbiturate. It was discovered in the early 1936 by Ernest H. Volwiler and Donalee L. Tabern while working for Abbott Laboratories.
Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is a water-soluble vitamin which prevents the deficiency disease pellagra. Niacin was extracted from livers by Conrad Elvehjem who later discovered the active ingredient, then referred to as the "pellagra-preventing factor" and the "anti-blacktongue factor."
Electron capture is a decay mode for isotopes that will occur when there are too many protons in the nucleus of an atom and insufficient energy to emit a positron. However, it continues to be a viable decay mode for radioactive isotopes that can decay by positron emission. K-electron capture was discovered by Luis Alvarez, who demonstrated it in 1937 and reported it in The Physical Review in April 1938.
A fluoropolymer is a fluorocarbon based polymer with multiple strong carbon–fluorine bonds. It is characterized by a high resistance to solvents, acids, and bases. Fluoropolymers were discovered in 1938 by Dr. Roy Plunkett when he accidentally polymerized tetrafluoroethylene to form polytetrafluoroethylene.
Echolocation, also called biosonar, is the biological sonar used by several animals such as dolphins, shrews, bats, and whales. The term was coined by Donald Griffin and Robert Galambos, who discovered its use by bats in 1938.
Plutonium is a synthetic transuranic radioactive chemical element with the chemical symbol Pu and atomic number 94. It is an actinide metal of silvery-white appearance that tarnishes when exposed to air, forming a dull coating when oxidized. Plutonium was co-discovered by Glenn T. Seaborg, A.C. Wahl, and J.W. Kennedy in 1940.
Cyanoacrylates are a class of fast-acting adhesives and glues. Better known under the brand name "Super Glue," cyanoacrylates are used to assemble prototype electronics (see Wire wrap), flying model aircraft, and as retention dressings for nuts and bolts. Their effectiveness in bonding metal and general versatility have also made them popular for use in simple woodworking, industrial binding, and appliance repair. The history of cyanoacrylates is one of accidental discovery when researchers under Dr. Harry Coover conducted experiments on adhesive chemicals in order to devise a clear plastic that could be used for precision gunsights for soldiers fighting in World War II. Failing in their experimentations, the practical usefulness of cyanoarcrylates did not materialize until much later when in 1951, Coover, who was then working at Eastman Kodak, came to the realization that the sticky adhesives had unique properties in that they required no heat or pressure to permanently bond two items together. In light of his invention of "Super Glue," Coover filed U.S. patent #2,768,109 on June 2, 1954 and it was issued to him on October 23, 1956.
Streptomycin is an antibiotic drug, the first of a class of drugs called aminoglycosides to be discovered, and was the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis. Streptomycin cannot be given orally as it must be administered by regular intramuscular injection. In 1943, Albert Schatz discovered Streptomycin.
Americium is a synthetic element that has the symbol Am and atomic number 95. A radioactive metallic element, americium is an actinide that is used in commercial ionization chamber smoke detectors, as well as in neutron sources and industrial gauges. Americium was co-discovered by Glenn T. Seaborg, Ralph James, L. Morgan, and Albert Ghiorso during their work on the Manhattan Project in 1944.
Curium is a synthetic chemical element with the symbol Cm and atomic number 96. A radioactive metallic transuranic element of the actinide series, curium is produced by bombarding plutonium with alpha particles (helium ions) and was named after Marie Curie and her husband Pierre Curie. Curium was co-discovered by Glenn T. Seaborg, Ralph A. James, and Albert Ghiorso at the University of California at Berkeley in 1944.
Cloud seeding, a form of weather modification, is the attempt to change the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds, by dispersing substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, which alter the microphysical processes within the cloud. The usual intent is to increase precipitation but hail and fog suppression are also widely practiced in airports. The method's use has ranged from increasing precipitation in areas experiencing drought to removing radioactive particles from clouds. Cloud seeding was discovered by Vincent Schaefer in 1946.
Warfarin is an anticoagulant and pesticide. It was initially used as a pesticide but was later found to be effective and relatively safe for preventing thrombosis and embolism in many disorders and is currently the most widely used anticoagulant worldwide. It was discovered by Karl Paul Link and chemists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Seratonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter synthesized in serotonergic neurons in the central nervous system (CNS) and enterochromaffin cells in the gastrointestinal tract of animals including humans. It was isolated and named in 1948 by Maurice M. Rapport, Arda Green, and Irvine Page of the Cleveland Clinic.
Tetracycline is a broad-spectrum polyketide antibiotic indicated for use against many bacterial infections. It is commonly used to treat acne today, and played a historical role in stamping out cholera in the developed world. It was discovered by Benjamin Minge Duggar in 1948.
Nereid, also known as Neptune II, is a moon of Neptune. Nereid was discovered on May 1, 1949 by Gerard Kuiper, who proposed the name in the report of his discovery. It is named after the Nereids, sea-nymphs of Greek mythology.
Berkelium is a synthetic element with the symbol Bk and atomic number 97. A radioactive metallic element in the actinide series, berkelium was first synthesized by bombarding americium with alpha particles (helium ions) and was named for the University of California at Berkeley. Berkelium was co-discovered in December 1949 by Glenn T. Seaborg, Stanley G. Thompson, and Albert Ghiorso.
Californium is a radioactive metallic chemical element with the symbol Cf and atomic number 98. The element was first produced by bombarding curium with alpha particles (helium ions) at the University of California, Berkeley. It was the sixth transuranic element to be synthesized. Californium is one of the highest atomic mass elements to have been produced in weighable amounts. It is named for the U.S. state of California and the University of California. Californium was co-discovered by Stanley G. Thompson, Albert Ghiorso, and Glenn T. Seaborg in 1950.
Barium stars are G to K class giants, whose spectra indicate an overabundance of s-process elements by the presence of singly ionized barium, Ba II, at λ 455.4nm. Barium stars also show enhanced spectral features of carbon, the bands of the molecules CH, CN and C2. The class was originally recognized and defined by William Bidelman and Philip Keenan.
Vaccination works by priming the immune system with an 'immunogen'. Stimulating immune response, via use of an infectious agent, is known as immunization. The development of immunity to polio efficiently blocks person-to-person transmission of wild poliovirus, thereby protecting both individual vaccine recipients and the wider community. In 1952, Dr. Jonas Salk announced his discovery of a trial vaccine for Polio, or poliomyelitis. Salk's vaccine was composed of "killed" polio virus, which retained the ability to immunize without the risk of infecting the patient. In 1954, Salk published his findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and nationwide testing was carried out. In 1955, Salk's polio vaccine was made public.
Einsteinium is a metallic synthetic element. On the periodic table, it is represented by the symbol Es and atomic number 99. It is the seventh transuranic element, and an actinide. It was named in honor of Albert Einstein. Einsteinium was discovered by Albert Ghioirso in December 1952.
Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is a normal stage of sleep characterized by rapid movements of the eyes. REM sleep is classified into two categories: tonic and phasic. The phenomenon of REM sleep and its association with dreaming was discovered by Eugene Aserinsky and Nathaniel Kleitman with assistance from William C. Dement, a medical student at the time, in 1952 during their tenures at the University of Chicago. Kleitman and Aserinsky's seminal article was published September 10, 1953.
In 1953, based on X-ray diffraction images and the information that the bases were paired, James D. Watson along with Francis Crick co-discovered what is now widely accepted as the first accurate double-helix model of DNA structure.
Mendelevium is a synthetic element with the symbol Md (formerly Mv) and the atomic number 101. A metallic radioactive transuranic element of the actinides, mendelevium is usually synthesized by bombarding einsteinium with alpha particles and was named after the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev, who was responsible for the Periodic Table. Mendelevium was co-discovered by Albert Ghiorso, Bernard G. Harvey, Gregory R. Choppin, Stanley G. Thompson, and Glenn T. Seaborg in 1955.
Porous silicon (pSi) is a form of the chemical element silicon which has an introduced nanoporous holes in its microstructure, rendering a large surface to volume ratio in the order of 500m2/cm3. It was first discovered by accident in 1956 at Bell Labs by Arthur Uhlir Jr. and Ingeborg Uhlir.
A kaon is any one of a group of four mesons distinguished by the fact that they carry a quantum number called strangeness. It was first discovered by Leon Lederman and a group of scientists from Columbia University at Brookhaven National Laboratory.
The antineutron is the antiparticle of the neutron. An antineutron has the same mass as a neutron, and no net electric charge. However, it is different from a neutron by being composed of anti-quarks, rather than quarks. It was discovered by Bruce Cork, William Wenzell, Glenn Lambertson, and Oreste Piccioni in 1956.
Neutrinos are elementary particles that travel close to the speed of light, lack an electric charge, are able to pass through ordinary matter almost undisturbed, and are thus extremely difficult to detect. The neutrino was first postulated in 1930 by Wolfgang Pauli and later discovered in 1956 by Clyde Cowan, Frederick Reines, F. B. Harrison, H. W. Kruse, and A. D. McGuire.
The Van Allen radiation belt is a torus of energy charged particles around Earth, held in place by Earth's magnetic field. On the sun side, it is compressed because of the solar wind and on the other side, it is elongated to around three earth radii. This creates a cavity called the Chapman Ferraro Cavity, in which the Van Allen radiation belts reside. The existence of the belt was confirmed by the Explorer 1 and Explorer 3 missions in early 1958, under Dr. James Van Allen at the University of Iowa.
The antiproton is the antiparticle of the proton. It was discovered in 1955 by University of California, Berkeley physicists Owen Chamberlain and Emilio Segrè for which they earned the 1959 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Seafloor spreading occurs at mid-ocean ridges, where new oceanic crust is formed through volcanic activity and then gradually moves away from the ridge. Seafloor spreading helps explain continental drift in the theory of plate tectonics. It was first proposed by Harry Hammond Hess and Robert S. Dietz in 1960.
In particle physics, subatomic particle (Xi) is a name given to a range of baryons with one up or down quark and two heavier quarks. They are sometimes called the cascade particles because of their unstable state, they decay rapidly into lighter particles through a chain of decays. The first discovery of the Xi particle was at Brookhaven National Laboratory in 1964.
In cosmology, the cosmic microwave background radiation CMB is a form of electromagnetic radiation filling the universe. The CMB's discovery in 1964 by astronomers Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson was the culmination of work initiated in the 1940s, earning them a Nobel Prize in 1978.
A quark is a type of elementary particle found in nucleons and other subatomic particles. They are a major constituent of matter, along with leptons. The quark model was first postulated independently by physicist Murray Gell-Mann in 1964.
Aspartame is the name for an artificial, non-saccharide sweetener, aspartyl-phenylalanine-1-methyl ester; that is, a methyl ester of the dipeptide of the amino acidsaspartic acid and phenylalanine. Aspartame was discovered in 1965 by James M. Schlatter, a chemist working for G.D. Searle & Company. Schlatter had synthesized aspartame in the course of producing an anti-ulcer drug candidate.
A pulsating white dwarf is a white dwarf star whose luminosity varies due to non-radial gravity wave pulsations within itself. The first pulsating white dwarf was discovered by Arlo U. Landolt when he observed in 1965 and 1966 that the luminosity of HL Tau 76 varied with a period of approximately 12.5 minutes.
The up quark is a first-generation quark with a charge of +(2/3)e. The existence of up quarks was first postulated when Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig developed the quark model in 1964, and the first evidence for them was found in deep inelastic scattering experiments in 1968.
The down quark is a first-generation quark with a charge of −1⁄3. It is the second-lightest of all the six of quarks, the lightest being the up quark. Down quarks are most commonly found in nucleons. Its protons contains one down quark and two up quarks, while neutrons contain two down quarks and one up quark. Down quarks were theorized by Murray Gell-Mann and George Zweig when they discovered the quark model in 1968.
Interstellar formaldehyde was first discovered in 1969 by Lewis Snyder, David Buhl, B. Zuckerman and Patrick Palmer using the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Formaldehyde was detected by means of the 111 - 110 ground state rotational transition at 4830MHz.
In biochemistry, a reverse transcriptase, also known as RNA-dependent DNA polymerase, is a DNA polymerase enzyme that transcribes single-stranded RNA into double-stranded DNA. It was discovered by Howard Temin at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and independently by David Baltimore in 1970 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Opioid receptors are a group of G protein-coupled receptors with opioids as ligands. The endogenous opioids are dynorphins, enkephalins, endorphins, endomorphins, and nociceptin. The opioid receptors are ~40% identical to somatostatin receptors (SSTRs). Opiate receptors were discovered in 1972 by the American neuroscientist and pharmacologist named Candace Pert.
Lucy is the common name of AL 288-1, several hundred pieces of bone representing about 40% of the skeleton of an individual Australopithecus afarensis. Lucy is reckoned to have lived 3.2 million years ago. This hominid was significant as the skeleton shows evidence of small skull capacity akin to that of apes and of bipedal upright walk akin to that of humans, providing further evidence that bipedalism preceded increase in brain size in human evolution. While working in collaboration with a joint French-British-American team, Lucy was discovered in Hadar, Ethiopia on November 24, 1974, when American paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson, coaxed away from his paperwork by graduate student Tom Gray for a spur-of-the-moment survey, caught the glint of a white fossilized bone out of the corner of his eye, and recognized it as hominid. Later described as the first known member of Australopithecus afarensis. Dr. Johanson's girlfriend suggested she be named "Lucy" after the Beatles' song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" which was played repeatedly during the night of the discovery.
The J/ψ is a subatomic particle, a flavor-neutral meson consisting of a charm quark and a charm anti-quark. Mesons formed by a bound state of a charm quark and a charm anti-quark are generally known as "charmonium". Its discovery was made independently by two research groups, one at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, headed by Burton Richter, and one at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, headed by Samuel Ting at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They accidentally discovered they had found the same particle, and both announced their discoveries on November 11, 1974.
The charm quark is a second-generation quark with an electric charge of +2⁄3 e. It is the third most massive of the quarks, at about 1.5 GeV/c2 and roughly one and a half times the mass of the proton. It was predicted in 1964 by Sheldon Lee Glashow and James Bjorken and first observed in November 1974, with the simultaneous discovery of the J/ψ|J/ψ meson charm particle at Stanford Linear Accererator Center by a group led by Burton Richter and at Brookhaven National Laboratory by a group led by Samuel C. C. Ting.
A binary pulsar is a pulsar with a binary companion, often another pulsar, white dwarf or neutron star. The first binary pulsar, PSR 1913+16 or the "Hulse-Taylor binary pulsar" was discovered in 1974 at Arecibo by Joseph Hooton Taylor, Jr. and Russell Hulse, for which they won the 1993 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Seaborgium is a chemical element with the symbol Sg and atomic number 106. Seaborgium is a synthetic element whose most stable isotope 271Sg has a half-life of 1.9 minutes. Chemistry experiments with seaborgium have firmly placed it in group 6 as a heavier homologue to tungsten. Seaborgium was independently discovered by groups at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 1974, and was named in honor of the American chemist Glenn T. Seaborg.
The Amarillo Starlight is a 16.37-carat white diamond that was discovered in 1975 by W. W. Johnson of Amarillo, Texas while vacationing at the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. The Amarillo Starlight was later cut into a 7.54-carat marquise shape.
D mesons are the lightest particle containing charm quarks. They are often studied to gain knowledge on the weak interaction. Since the D meson is the lightest meson containing a charm quark, it must change the charm quark into another quark to decay. D mesons were discovered in 1976 during the Mark I experiments at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.
The planet Uranus has a system of rings intermediate in complexity between the more extensive set around Saturn and the simpler systems around Jupiter and Neptune. The rings of Uranus were discovered on March 10, 1977, by James L. Elliot, Edward W. Dunham, and Douglas J. Mink. More than 200 years ago, William Herschel also reported observing rings, but modern astronomers are skeptical that he could actually have noticed them, as they are very dark and faint.
The upsilon meson is a flavorless meson formed from a bottom quark and its antiparticle. It was discovered by the E288 collaboration, headed by Leon Lederman, at Fermilab in 1977, and was the first particle containing a bottom quark to be discovered because it is the lightest that can be produced without additional massive particles. It has a mean lifetime of 1.21×10−20 second and a mass about 10 GeV.
A restriction enzyme is an enzyme that cuts double-stranded or single stranded DNA at specific recognition nucleotide sequences known as restriction sites. Such enzymes, found in bacteria and archaea, are thought to have evolved to provide a defense mechanism against invading viruses. Inside a bacterial host, the restriction enzymes selectively cut up foreign DNA in a process called restriction; host DNA is methylated by a modification enzyme to protect it from the restriction enzyme's activity. The Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded, in 1978, to Daniel Nathans, Werner Arber, and Hamilton O. Smith for the discovery of restriction endonucleases.
Thebe is the fourth of Jupiter's moons by distance from the planet. It was discovered by Stephen Synnott in images from the Voyager 1 space probe taken on March 5, 1979 while orbiting around Jupiter.
The planet Jupiter has a system of rings, known as the rings of Jupiter or the Jovian ring system. It was the third ring system to be discovered in the Solar System, after those of Saturn and Uranus and was first observed in 1979 by the Voyager 1 space probe.
An oncogene is a gene that is mutated or expressed at high levels, and thus helps turn a normal cell into a tumor cell. In the late 1970s, Robert Weinberg and his team of researchers began the search for a human oncogene. Using gene transfer techniques, researchers in his lab inserted DNA from human bladder tumor cells into normal animal cells. When the animal cells turned cancerous, Dr. Weinberg's associates began inserting smaller pieces of DNA into the normal cell. By 1980, they found a single fragment that turned the normal cell cancerous. This gene was found to belong to a sub-family of related genes, called ras, that was later discovered to play a role in causing bladder, lung, and colon cancer in both rats and humans. More results emerged in 1982 when Dr. Weinberg's laboratory discovered that a single, subtle genetic glitch in this oncogene topples the delicate balance between a bladder cell's normal and cancerous states.
Larissa, also known as Neptune VII, is the fifth-closest inner satellite of Neptune. It was first discovered by Harold J. Reitsema, William B. Hubbard, Larry A. Lebofsky, and David J. Tholen based on fortuitous ground-based stellar occultation observations on May 24, 1981, and given the temporary designation S/1981 N 1, being announced on May 29, 1981.
Pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, also known as Pneumovax, is a vaccine used to prevent Streptococcus pneumoniae infections such as pneumonia and septicaemia. It was discovered by American scientists at Merck & Co. in 1983.
First launched in 1715 from London, England, the Whydah was a three-masted ship of galley-style design measuring 105 feet (32m) in length, rated at 300 tons burden, and could travel at speeds up to 14.95mph (24.06km/h). Christened Whydah after the West African slave trading kingdom of Ouidah, the vessel was configured as a heavily armed trading and transport ship for use in the Atlantic slave trade, carrying goods from England to exchange for slaves in West Africa. It would then travel to the Caribbean to trade the slaves for precious metals, sugar, indigo, and medicinal ingredients, which would then be transported back to England. Captained by the English pirate "Black Sam" Bellamy, the Whydah, on April 26, 1717, sailed into a violent storm dangerously close to Cape Cod and was eventually driven onto the shoals at Wellfleet, Massachusetts. At midnight she hit a sandbar in 16 feet (4.9m) of water some 500 feet (150m) from the coast of what is now Marconi Beach. Pummelled by 70-mile (110km)-an-hour winds and 30 to 40-foot (12m) waves, the main mast snapped, pulling the ship into some 30 feet (9.1m) of water where she violently capsized, taking Bellamy, all but two of his 145 men, and over 4.5 tons of gold, silver and jewels with it. After years of exhaustive searching, it was in 1984 that world headlines were made when American archeological explorer Barry Clifford found the only solidly-identified pirate shipwreck ever discovered, the Whydah. Two-hundred thousand artifacts and sunken treasures were discovered in the shipwreck as well.
The RMS Titanic was an Olympic class passenger liner owned by the White Star Line and was built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, in what is now Northern Ireland. At the time of her construction, she was the largest passenger steamship in the world. Shortly before midnight on April 14, 1912, four days into the ship's maiden voyage, Titanic struck an iceberg and sank two hours and forty minutes later, early on April 15, 1912. The sinking resulted in the deaths of 1,517 of the 2,223 people on board, making it one of the deadliest peacetime maritime disasters in history. After nearly 74 years of being lost at sea on the bottom of the ocean floor, a joint Franco-American expedition led by American oceanographer Dr. Robert D. Ballard, discovered the wreckage of the RMS Titanic two miles (3km) beneath the waves of the North Atlantic on September 1, 1985. Ballard was then forced to wait a year for weather conditions favorable to a manned mission to view the wreck at close range. In 1986, Ballard and his two-man crew, in the ALVIN submersible, made the first two and-a-half hour descent to the ocean floor to view the wreck first-hand. Over the next few days, they descended again and again and, using the Jason Jr. remote camera, recorded the first scenes of the ruined interior of the luxury liner.
A tumor suppressor gene, or anti-oncogene, is a gene that protects a cell from one step on the path to cancer. When this gene is mutated to cause a loss or reduction in its function, the cell can progress to cancer, usually in combination with other genetic changes. In 1986, Robert Weinberg and a team of researchers working under his direction made a seminal discovery when they isolated Rb, or the retinoblastoma protein, the first known growth-suppressor gene.
Despina, also known as Neptune V, is the third-closest inner satellite of Neptune. Despina was discovered in late July 1989 from the images taken by the Voyager 2. It was given the temporary designation S/1989 N 3.
Galatea, also known as Neptune VI, is the fourth-closest inner satellite of Neptune. Galatea was discovered in late July 1989 from the images taken by the Voyager 2. It was given the temporary designation S/1989 N 4.
Thalassa, also known as Neptune IV, is the second inner satellite of Neptune. It was discovered sometime before mid-September 1989 from the images taken by the Voyager 2. It was given the temporary designation S/1989 N 5.
Naiad, also known as Neptune III, is the inner satellite of Neptune. It was discovered sometime before mid-September 1989 from the images taken by the Voyager 2. The last moon to be discovered during the flyby, it was designated S/1989 N 6.
The German battleship Bismarck was one of the most famous warships of World War II. As the lead ship of the Bismarckclass, and named after the 19th century German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, Bismarck displaced more than 50,000 tonnes fully loaded and was the largest warship then commissioned. Fleet Air Arm Swordfish biplanes launched from the carrier HMSArk Royal torpedoed the ship and jammed her rudder, allowing Royal Navy units to catch up with her. In the ensuing battle on the morning of May 27, 1941, Bismarck was heavily attacked for almost two hours before sinking. After the discovery of the wreckage of the RMSTitanic in 1985, Dr. Robert D. Ballard's next goal was to find and film the wreck of the Bismarck. The search for the wreck began in July 1988, but his first expedition brought no success. A second expedition was mounted in late May 1989, and on June 8, 1989, after combing an area of some 200 square miles (520km2), Ballard and his team finally found Bismarck's remains. The wreck lies in the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean some 600 miles (970km) west of Brest, France at a depth of 4,790 meters (15,700ft).
The Strawn-Wagner Diamond is a rare 3.03 carat diamond that is certified by the American Gem Society (AGS) as the world's most perfect diamond in terms of its cut and the highest grade possible, the "Triple Zero". The Strawn-Wagner Diamond was discovered in 1990 at the Crater of Diamonds State Park by Shirley Strawn of Murfreesboro, Arkansas.
Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 was a comet that broke apart and collided with Jupiter in July 1994, providing the first direct observation of an extraterrestrial collision of solar system objects. The collision provided new information about Jupiter and highlighted its role in reducing space debris in the inner solar system. Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 was co-discovered photographically by the husband and wife scientific team of Carolyn S. Shoemaker and Eugene M. Shoemaker along with Canadian-born astronomer David H. Levy on March 24, 1993, using the 0.46-m (18-in.) Schmidt telescope at Palomar Observatory in California. Its discovery was a serendipitous product of their continuing search for "near-Earth objects", and the "9" indicates that it was the ninth short-period comet (period less than 200 years) discovered by this team.
The top quark is the third-generation up-type quark with a charge of +(2/3)e. It was discovered in 1995 by the CDF and D0 experiments at Fermilab and is the most massive of known elementary particles.
Comet Hale-Bopp was arguably the most widely observed comet of the 20th century, and one of the brightest seen for many decades and it was visible to the naked eye for a record 18 months when it passed near planet Earth. Hale-Bopp was discovered by Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp on July 23, 1995 at a great distance from the Sun, raising expectations that the comet would brighten considerably by the time it passed close to Earth. Although predicting the brightness of comets with any degree of accuracy is very difficult, Hale-Bopp met or exceeded most predictions when it passed perihelion on April 1, 1997.
The third USS Yorktown in the United States Navy, lead ship of the Yorktown class of aircraft carriers, was laid down on May 21, 1934 at Newport News, Virginia, by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. Yorktown was launched on April 4, 1936, sponsored by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and commissioned at Norfolk, Virginia, on September 30, 1937 with Captain Ernest D. McWhorter in command. Yorktown was hit by air-launched torpedoes during the Battle of Midway on June 6, 1942. Hiryū, the sole surviving Japanese aircraft carrier, wasted little time in counter-attacking. The first wave of Japanese dive bombers badly damaged Yorktown with three bomb hits that snuffed out her boilers, immobilizing her, yet her damage control teams patched her up so effectively that the second wave's torpedo bombers mistook her for an undamaged carrier. Despite Japanese hopes to even the odds by eliminating two carriers with two strikes, Yorktown absorbed both Japanese attacks, the second wave mistakenly believing Yorktown had already been sunk and they were attacking USSEnterprise. After two torpedo hits, Yorktown lost power and developed a 26° list to port, which put her out of action and forced Admiral Frank J. Fletcher to move his command staff to the heavy cruiser Astoria. The second attempt at salvage, however, would never be made. Throughout the night of June 6 and into the morning of June 7, Yorktown remained stubbornly afloat. By 0530 on June 7, however, the men in the ships nearby noted that the carrier's list was rapidly increasing to port. At 0701, the ship turned over on her port side and sank in 3,000 fathoms (5,500 m) of water, her battle flags still flying. On May 19, 1998, the wreck of the Yorktown was discovered by Dr. Robert D. Ballard, American oceanographer and discoverer of the wreck of the RMS Titanic. The wreck of the Yorktown was found 3 miles (4.8km) beneath the surface and was photographed.
A breakthrough in human embryonic stem cell research came in November 1998 when a group led by Dr. James Thomson at the University of Wisconsin–Madison first discovered a technique in order to isolate and grow cells which derived from human blastocysts, could one day lead to major medical advancements in organ transplantation as well as gene therapy and treatment of maladies such as paralysis, diabetes, cancer, and AIDS.
Between May and June 2001, astronomers A. J. Apponi and Barry Turner co-discovered vinyl alcohol in the molecular cloud Sagittarius B using the National Science Foundation's 12-meter radio telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory.
Perdita is an inner satellite of Uranus. Perdita's discovery was complicated. The first photographs of Perdita were taken by the Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1986, but it was not recognized from the photographs for more than a decade. In 1999, the moon was noticed by Erich Karkoschka and reported. Because no further pictures could be taken to confirm its existence, it was officially demoted in 2001. However, in 2003, pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope managed to pick up an object where Perdita was supposed to be, finally confirming its existence.
Eris, formal designation 136199 Eris, is the largest-known dwarf planet in the Solar System and the ninth-largest body known to orbit the Sun directly. It is approximately 2,500 kilometres in diameter and 27% more massive than the dwarf planet Pluto. Eris was discovered in 2005 at W. M. Keck Observatory by American astronomer Michael E. Brown.
Dysnomia, officially (136199) Eris I Dysnomia, is the only known moon of the dwarf planet Eris. In conjunction of finding Eris, American astronomer Michael E. Brown discovered Eris' satellite, Dysnomia, at W. M. Keck Observatory in 2005.
Hydra is the outer-most natural satellite of Pluto. It was discovered along with Nix in June 2005 by the Hubble Space Telescope's Pluto Companion Search Team, which is composed of Hal A. Weaver, Alan Stern, Max J. Mutchler, Andrew J. Steffl, Marc W. Buie, William J. Merline, John R. Spencer, Eliot F. Young, and Leslie A. Young.
Nix is a natural satellite of Pluto. It was discovered along with Hydra in June 2005 by the Hubble Space Telescope's Pluto Companion Search Team, composed of Hal A. Weaver, Alan Stern, Max J. Mutchler, Andrew J. Steffl, Marc W. Buie, William J. Merline, John R. Spencer, Eliot F. Young, and Leslie A. Young.
KV63 is the most recently opened chamber in Egypt's Valley of the Kings pharaonic necropolis. Initially believed to be a royal tomb, it is now believed to have been an ancient storage chamber for the mummification process. The 2005 discovery of KV63, located about 50 feet (15m) away from King Tut's tomb, is credited to American Egyptologist Dr. Otto Schaden and his team from the University of Memphis.
The human genome is the genome of Homo sapiens, which is stored on 23 chromosome pairs. Whereas a genome sequence lists the order of every DNA base in a genome, a genome map identifies the landmarks. A genome map is less detailed than a genome sequence and aids in navigating around the genome. While working at the National Institute of Health, Craig Venter discovered a technique for rapidly identifying all of the mRNAs present in a cell, and began to use it to identify human brain genes. The short cDNA sequence fragments discovered by this method are called expressed sequence tags. Through his scientific research of bringing the world one step closer to personalized medicine, Craig Venter was listed on Time Magazine's 2007 and 2008 Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.
The di-positronium is a molecule consisting of two atoms of positronium. It was predicted to exist in 1946 by John Archibald Wheeler and subsequently studied theoretically, but was not observed until 2007 in an experiment done by David Cassidy and Allen Mills at the University of California, Riverside.
↑ Dale, James A.; Dull, David L.; Mosher, Harry S. (1969). "A versatile reagent for the determination of enantiomeric composition of alcohols and amines". The Journal of Organic Chemistry. Journal of Organic Chemistry. 34 (9): 2543. doi:10.1021/jo01261a013.
Naiad, named after the naiads of Greek legend, is the innermost satellite of Neptune with a distance of 48224 km from the planet's center. The moon is tidally locked to Neptune causing its orbit to decrease in altitude and eventually crash into Neptune's atmosphere and become a new ring.
The Solar System is the gravitationally bound system of the Sun and the objects that orbit it, either directly or indirectly. Of the objects that orbit the Sun directly, the largest are the eight planets, with the remainder being smaller objects, the dwarf planets and small Solar System bodies. Of the objects that orbit the Sun indirectly—the moons—two are larger than the smallest planet, Mercury.
Voyager 2 is a space probe launched by NASA on August 20, 1977, to study the outer planets. A part of the Voyager program, it was launched 16 days before its twin, Voyager 1, on a trajectory that took longer to reach Jupiter and Saturn but enabled further encounters with Uranus and Neptune. It is the only spacecraft to have visited either of these two ice giant planets. Voyager 2 is the fourth of five spacecraft to achieve the Solar escape velocity, which will allow it to leave the Solar System.
Uranus is the seventh planet from the Sun. Its name is a reference to the Greek god of the sky, Uranus, who, according to Greek mythology, was the grandfather of Zeus (Jupiter) and father of Cronus (Saturn). It has the third-largest planetary radius and fourth-largest planetary mass in the Solar System. Uranus is similar in composition to Neptune, and both have bulk chemical compositions which differ from that of the larger gas giants Jupiter and Saturn. For this reason, scientists often classify Uranus and Neptune as "ice giants" to distinguish them from the other gas giants. Uranus's atmosphere is similar to Jupiter's and Saturn's in its primary composition of hydrogen and helium, but it contains more "ices" such as water, ammonia, and methane, along with traces of other hydrocarbons. It has the coldest planetary atmosphere in the Solar System, with a minimum temperature of 49 K, and has a complex, layered cloud structure with water thought to make up the lowest clouds and methane the uppermost layer of clouds. The interior of Uranus is mainly composed of ices and rock.
Puck is an inner moon of Uranus. It was discovered in December 1985 by the Voyager 2 spacecraft. The name Puck follows the convention of naming Uranus's moons after characters from Shakespeare. The orbit of Puck lies between the rings of Uranus and the first of Uranus's large moons, Miranda. Puck is approximately spherical in shape and has diameter of about 162 km. It has a dark, heavily cratered surface, which shows spectral signs of water ice.
Timeline of Solar System astronomy
Bianca is an inner satellite of Uranus. It was discovered from the images taken by Voyager 2 on January 23, 1986, and was given the temporary designation S/1986 U 9. It was named after the sister of Katherine in Shakespeare's play The Taming of the Shrew. It is also designated Uranus VIII.
Belinda is an inner satellite of the planet Uranus. Belinda was discovered from the images taken by Voyager 2 on 13 January 1986 and was given the temporary designation S/1986 U 5. It is named after the heroine of Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock. It is also designated Uranus XIV.
The timeline of discovery of Solar System planets and their natural satellites charts the progress of the discovery of new bodies over history. Each object is listed in chronological order of its discovery, identified through its various designations, and the discoverer(s) listed.
Uranus, the seventh planet of the Solar System, has 27 known moons, most of which are named after characters that appear in, or are mentioned in, the works of William Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. Uranus' moons are divided into three groups: thirteen inner moons, five major moons, and nine irregular moons. The inner moons are small dark bodies that share common properties and origins with Uranus' rings. The five major moons are ellipsoidal, indicating that they reached hydrostatic equilibrium at some point in their past, and four of them show signs of internally driven processes such as canyon formation and volcanism on their surfaces. The largest of these five, Titania, is 1,578 km in diameter and the eighth-largest moon in the Solar System, about one-twentieth the mass of the Earth's Moon. The orbits of the regular moons are nearly coplanar with Uranus' equator, which is tilted 97.77° to its orbit. Uranus' irregular moons have elliptical and strongly inclined orbits at large distances from the planet.
The planet Neptune has 14 known moons, which are named for minor water deities in Greek mythology. By far the largest of them is Triton, discovered by William Lassell on October 10, 1846, 17 days after the discovery of Neptune itself; over a century passed before the discovery of the second natural satellite, Nereid. Neptune's outermost moon Neso, which has an orbital period of about 26 Julian years, orbits further from its planet than any other moon in the Solar System.
The rings of Uranus are intermediate in complexity between the more extensive set around Saturn and the simpler systems around Jupiter and Neptune. The rings of Uranus were discovered on March 10, 1977, by James L. Elliot, Edward W. Dunham, and Jessica Mink. William Herschel had also reported observing rings in 1789; modern astronomers are divided on whether he could have seen them, as they are very dark and faint.
The rings of Neptune consist primarily of five principal rings and were first discovered on 22 July 1984 by Patrice Bouchet, Reinhold Häfner and Jean Manfroid at La Silla Observatory (ESO) in Chile during an observing program proposed by André Brahic and Bruno Sicardy from Paris Observatory, and at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory by F. Vilas and L.-R. Elicer for a program led by William Hubbard. They were eventually imaged in 1989 by the Voyager 2 spacecraft. At their densest, they are comparable to the less dense portions of Saturn's main rings such as the C ring and the Cassini Division, but much of Neptune's ring system is quite tenuous, faint and dusty, more closely resembling the rings of Jupiter. Neptune's rings are named after astronomers who contributed important work on the planet: Galle, Le Verrier, Lassell, Arago, and Adams. Neptune also has a faint unnamed ring coincident with the orbit of the moon Galatea. Three other moons orbit between the rings: Naiad, Thalassa and Despina.
In astronomy, an inner moon or inner natural satellite is a natural satellite following a prograde, low-inclination orbit inwards of the large satellites of the parent planet. They are generally thought to have been formed in situ at the same time as the coalescence of the original planet. Neptune's moons are an exception, as they are likely reaggregates of the pieces of the original bodies, which were disrupted after the capture of the large moon Triton. Inner satellites are distinguished from other regular satellites by their proximity to the parent planet, their short orbital periods, their low mass, small size, and irregular shapes.
The exploration of Uranus has, to date, been solely through telescopes and a lone probe by NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft, which made its closest approach to Uranus on January 24, 1986. Voyager 2 discovered 10 moons, studied the planet's cold atmosphere, and examined its ring system, discovering two new rings. It also imaged Uranus' five large moons, revealing that their surfaces are covered with impact craters and canyons.
The exploration of Neptune has only begun with one spacecraft, Voyager 2 in 1989. As of July 2020 there are no approved future missions to visit the Neptunian system. NASA, ESA and also independent academic groups have proposed future scientific missions to visit Neptune. Some mission plans are still active, while others have been abandoned or put on hold.
Heidi B. Hammel is a planetary astronomer who has extensively studied Neptune and Uranus. She was part of the team imaging Neptune from Voyager 2 in 1989. She led the team using the Hubble Space Telescope to view Shoemaker-Levy 9's impact with Jupiter in 1994. She has used the Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Telescope to study Uranus and Neptune, discovering new information about dark spots, planetary storms and Uranus' rings. In 2002, she was selected as an interdisciplinary scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope.
Neptune is the eighth and farthest-known Solar planet from the Sun. In the Solar System, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter, the third-most-massive planet, and the densest giant planet. It is 17 times the mass of Earth, slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus. Neptune is denser and physically smaller than Uranus because its greater mass causes more gravitational compression of its atmosphere. The planet orbits the Sun once every 164.8 years at an average distance of 30.1 AU. It is named after the Roman god of the sea and has the astronomical symbol ♆, a stylised version of the god Neptune's trident.
Discovery and exploration of the Solar System is observation, visitation, and increase in knowledge and understanding of Earth's "cosmic neighborhood". This includes the Sun, Earth and the Moon, the major planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, their satellites, as well as smaller bodies including comets, asteroids, and dust.
The Solar System — our Sun’s system of planets, moons, and smaller debris — is humankind’s cosmic backyard. Small by factors of millions compared to interstellar distances, the spaces between the planets are daunting, but technologically surmountable
Philip D. Nicholson is an Australian-born professor of astronomy at Cornell University in the Astronomy department specialising in Planetary Sciences. He has been editor-in-chief of the journal Icarus since 1998.
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