This Day In History : December 25

2021 United States

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Launched in Joint Effort

On December 25, 2021, NASA, in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency, launched the James Webb Space Telescope aboard an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, South America. This ambitious mission aims to explore distant galaxies and uncover new insights into the universe's origins and evolution.

Also on This Day in History December 25

Discover what happened on December 25 with HISTORY's summaries of major events, anniversaries,
famous births and notable deaths.

Births on This Day, December 25
  • 1906 Ernst Ruska

    Ernst August Friedrich Ruska was a German electrical engineer who invented the electron microscope.

  • 1904 Gerhard Herzberg

    German-Canadian physicist who was awarded the 1971 Nobel Prize for Chemistry "for his contributions to the knowledge of electronic structure and geometry of molecules, particularly free radicals."

  • 1851 Herman Frasch

    German-born American petroleum scientist who invented the Frasch Process for sulphur mining.

  • 1876 Adolf Windaus

    Adolf Otto Reinhold Windaus was a German chemist who won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1928 for his work on sterols and their relation to vitamins.

  • 1763 Claude Chappe

    French engineer who invented the semaphore visual telegraph. He began experimenting in 1790, trying various types of telegraph.

Deaths on This Day, December 25
  • 1868 Linus Yale

    American inventor and manufacturer of locks, including the cylinder or pin-tumbler lock known by his name.

  • 1954 Liberty Hyde Bailey

    American horticulturist who helped create the science of horticulture, made systematic studies of cultivated plants, and advanced knowledge in hybridization, plant pathology, and agriculture.

  • 2021 Thomas E. Lovejoy

    He was an American biologist and conservationist who played a central role in the establishment of conservation biology, and has been called the “Godfather of Biodiversity.”

  • 1930 Eugen Goldstein

    He was an early investigator of discharge tubes, the discoverer of anode rays or canal rays, later identified as positive ions in the gas phase including the hydrogen ion.

  • 1961 Otto Loewi

    German-born American physician and pharmacologist who shared the 1936 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (with Sir Henry Dale) “for their discoveries relating to the chemical transmission of nerve impulses.”


Halley's comet

In 1758, the predicted return of Halley's comet was first sighted by German farmer and amateur astronomer, Johann Georg Palitzsch, as a faint object in Pisces.

Christmas Island discovered

Christmas Island was discovered in 1643 by Captain William Mynors of the British East India Company. Located in the Indian Ocean, this remote island is known for its unique biodiversity and is now an Australian territory famous for its annual red crab migration.

Hirohito Becomes the 124th Emperor of Japan

Hirohito ascended to the Chrysanthemum Throne as the 124th Emperor of Japan on December 25, 1926, following the death of his father, Emperor Taisho. His reign, known as the Showa Era, witnessed significant transformations in Japan, including industrialization, militarization, and ultimately the country's involvement in World War II.

First Pictures of Comet Kohoutek from Space

NASA astronauts Jerry Carr and William Pogue captured the first images of Comet Kohoutek from space during a spacewalk from Skylab 4. This historic moment occurred in December 1973, marking the first time that photographs of a comet were taken from outside the Earth's atmosphere, providing valuable insights into celestial phenomena.
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