after dinner, the weather being warm, we went into the garden, & drank thea under the shade of some appletrees, only he, & myself. amidst other discourse, he told me, he was just in the same situation, as when formerly, the notion of gravitation came into his mind. “why should that apple always descend perpendicularly to the ground,” thought he to him self: occasion’d by the fall of an apple, as he sat in a comtemplative mood: “why should it not go sideways, or upwards? but constantly to the earths centre? assuredly, the reason is, that the earth draws it. there must be a drawing power in matter. & the sum of the drawing power in the matter of the earth must be in the earths center, not in any side of the earth. therefore dos this apple fall perpendicularly, or toward the center. if matter thus draws matter; it must be in proportion of its quantity. therefore the apple draws the earth, as well as the earth draws the apple.”
Memoir of Sir Isaac Newton’s Life, William Stukeley, 1752
The Pitt Estate, British History Online. A lengthy article about the neighborhood where Newton spent the last two years of his life. Excerpted from Survey of London: volume 37, edited by F.H.W. Sheppard (1973).
Newton Court, Kensington, London on Google Maps. Newton lived on this block from 1725 to his death in 1727 and told the story of the apple to his biographer William Stukeley near a grove of apple trees in this general area.
The first orbital flight of a US Space Shuttle ended this day in 1981 at 11:20 AM local time when the orbiter Columbia landed on runway 23 at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Columbia flew 28 missions and was destroyed during reentry on 1 February 2003.
An oxygen tank aboard the Apollo 13 service module exploded at 3:07 UTC 14 April 1970. The planned landing on the moon was aborted and the spacecraft was set on a free return trajectory to earth. Astronauts James Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise managed to return safely to earth 3 days later.
The near earth asteroid 99942 Apophis will come impressively close to earth on 13 April 2029 — 29,000 km. This is well within the moon’s orbit (384,000 km) and even closer than the geosynchronous orbits used by telecommunications satellites (42,000 km). It will be so close that it will be visible without a telescope. It will return again for another visit on this same day in 2063. This time it won’t get so close — only 4,300,000 km.
Today marks the first orbital flight of a US Space Shuttle. Columbia departed from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 8:00 AM local time. It flew 28 missions and was destroyed during reentry over the southeastern US on 1 February 2003.
Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin rode into history on this day in 1961 becoming the first human to orbit the earth. The Vostok 1 mission was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Gagarin landed safely 108 minutes later in Saratov, Russia. The capsule that carried him most of the way did not land safely. Gagarin parachuted out and the capsule was allowed to fall to earth, which was the plan. He told the occupants of a nearby farm house, “Don’t be afraid, I am a Soviet like you, who has descended from space and I must find a telephone to call Moscow.”