August 28, 1845 — The first issue of Scientific American magazine hit newsstands today. The oldest continuously published magazine in the US was founded by painter and inventor Rufus M. Porter, who began it as a four-page weekly newspaper.
In its pages, we have learned about everything from inventions and patents, to interviews with Albert Einstein.
Today, it focuses on topics ranging from evolution and technology to the mind/brain and space. And, in the section entitled, “this date in history,” you’ll find excerpts from articles published up to 150 years ago. Click here to read all about it.
Also today in history:
August 28, 1789 — Today the German astronomer, William Herschel, discovered Saturn’s sixth moon, Enceladus. He made the find using the Herschelian telescope for the first time. Little was known about Enceladus other than its existence for almost 100 years. It was then, in the early 1980s that the Voyager spacecrafts passed nearby and discovered that the moon was only 500 kilometers and its entire surface was made of ice.
August 28, 1859 — The largest solar storm ever recorded began on this day and lasted until September 2nd. During this time period numerous sunspots were observed on the sun. On September 1-2, 1859, southern aurorae were seen by people all over the world due to the storm. The Evening Star in Washington DC wrote about the event saying:
“A brilliant display of Northern lights was witnessed from 8 o’clock to half-past 9 last night. The glare in the northern sky, previous to defining itself into the well-known features of the Aurora Borealis was sufficiently vivid to call out some of the fire companies.”
A report done in 2008 by the National Academy of Sciences estimated that if a storm this size occurred today, the cost of damages would be around 1 to 2 trillion dollars in Earth communication devices. It would take around 10 years for the world to recover from the event.
Words of Wisdom
"Each number will be furnished with from two to five original Engravings, many of them elegant, and illustrative of New Inventions, Scientific Principles, and Curious Works; and will contain, in high addition to the most interesting news of passing events, general notices of progress of Mechanical and other Scientific Improvements; American and Foreign. Improvements and Inventions; Catalogues of American Patents; Scientific Essays, illustrative of the principles of the sciences of Mechanics, Chemistry, and Architecture: useful information and instruction in various Arts and Trades; Curious Philosophical Experiments; Miscellaneous Intelligence, Music and Poetry."