In 1799, the first North American meteor shower on record took place. Early American astronomer Andrew Ellicott Douglass said, The whole heaven appeared as if illuminated with sky rockets.
In 1892, the first professional football game was played in Pittsburgh. The Allegheny Athletic Association defeated the Pittsburgh Athletic Club, 4-0. (Touchdowns at the time were worth 4 points.)
In 1941, the German army's drive to take Moscow was halted on the city's outskirts in World War II.
In 1948, a war crimes tribunal in Japan sentenced former premier Hideki Tojo and six other World War II Japanese leaders to death by hanging.
In 1980, the Voyager 1 spacecraft passed Saturn and sent back stunning pictures.
In 1981, the shuttle Columbia became the first spacecraft launched twice from Earth.
In 1982, former KGB chief Yuri Andropov succeeded the late Leonid Brezhnev as general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party.
Also in 1982, Polish authorities freed Solidarity founder Lech Walesa after 11 months of imprisonment.
In 1990, Akihito was crowned the 125th emperor of Japan.
In 1991, about 50 people were killed when Indonesian troops opened fire on protesters in the province of Timor Leste.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International