Monthly Archives: April 2018

Brightest Supernova in Recorded History Appears in Night Sky (1006)

One thousand seven years ago, observers in China, Egypt, Iraq, Japan, and Switzerland recorded a new object in the sky. It was hard to miss. Scientists now believe SN 1006 was the brightest supernova in recorded human history. It was described by ancient astronomers as being low on the horizon but shining about half or a quarter as bright as the Moon. It could sometimes be seen during daylight hours and may have been bright enough to read by at night. How far was it from Earth? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Minehead Hobby Horse Parade

In England and Wales, hobby horses have been a part of celebrations welcoming spring as far back as anyone can remember. In the waterfront town of Minehead, Somerset, the “sailors’ horse” has a boat-shaped frame 7-10 feet long, which is carried on the shoulders of a man whose body is concealed by a canvas curtain that hangs to the ground. His head is covered by a painted tin mask and a tall dunce cap, and hundreds of rainbow-colored ribbons stream from the top of the horse. The horse sets out on May Day Eve, ending up at Whitecross (a crossroads to the west of town) on May Day morning. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Mary II of England (1662)

Despite the conversion of her father, King James II, to Roman Catholicism, Mary was raised Protestant, a fact that would become important in her later life. In 1688, English nobles opposed to James’s pro-Catholic policies overthrew him and selected Mary and her husband, William of Orange, to rule in his place. Mary enjoyed great popularity as co-ruler of England, but her personal life was full of hardship. What were some of the major sources of unhappiness in her life? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Peacock Throne

Created in the 17th century for Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan—who also commissioned the Taj Mahal—the original Peacock Throne was decorated with representations of two peacocks with their tails fanned out and was said to be inlaid with rubies, emeralds, sapphires, pearls, and diamonds. It was carried off to Persia in 1739 by Nader Shah after his invasion of the Mughal Empire but was likely destroyed after his assassination in 1747. According to some sources, how much was the throne worth? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Mountainside Collapses on Town in Alberta, Canada (1903)

Before dawn on April 29, 1903, millions of tons of limestone tumbled from the face of Alberta’s Turtle Mountain onto the valley below, burying several buildings on the outskirts of the coal mining town of Frank. Though dozens were killed, only a handful of bodies were recovered from the debris. Scientists believe the slide was caused by a number of factors and speculate that another slide will likely occur. What legends about the slide arose in its aftermath and continue to persist today? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Stockton Asparagus Festival

This celebration takes place in Stockton, California, the heart of the region that claims to be the “Asparagus Capital of the Nation.” The festival began in 1986 and it now draws 80,000 spectators to the region’s various events. These include about 50 food booths in Asparagus Alley, a wine-tasting booth, a fun run (some runners wear asparagus spears in their headbands), a car show of some 200 antique and classic cars, live entertainment, and children’s activities. There’s also a recipe contest; among the past winning entries are enchiladas and lasagna made with asparagus. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Thomasina Winifred Montgomery, AKA Tammi Terrell (1945)

In his rise to fame, Motown legend Marvin Gaye paired with a number of female vocalists. Among them was the young Tammi Terrell, with whom Gaye recorded several hit duets, including “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” During a 1967 performance, Terrell collapsed on stage and was discovered to have a brain tumor. Despite several operations, Terrell died at the age of 24, and Gaye took a lengthy hiatus from performing. Whose vocals were rumored to have replaced Terrell’s on her final album with Gaye? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary