On this day in 1799, Andrew Ellicott, an early American astronomer, witnessed the Leonids meteor shower from a ship off the Florida Keys. Ellicott’s journal entry is the first known record of a meteor shower in North America. In 1954, Ellis Island, the gateway to America, shut its doors after processing more than 12 million immigrants since opening in 1892. On this day in 1979, President Jimmy Carter responded to a potential threat to national security by stopping the importation of petroleum from Iran. And on this day in 2001, an American Airlines flight out of John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport in New York City crashed into a Queens neighborhood after takeoff, killing 265 people.
See if your vocabulary skills light up the sky with your brilliance or cover you in a coat of slippery, good ol’ American oil.