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TODAY IN HISTORY - 11 MARCH


1843 – Eta Carinae flared up to become the second brightest star in the night sky.


Eta Carinae, formerly known as Eta Argus, is a stellar system containing at least two stars with a combined luminosity over five million times that of the Sun, located around 7500 light-years (2300 parsecs) distant in the direction of the constellation Carina. First recorded as a 4th magnitude star, it brightened considerably over the period 1837 to 1856 in an event known as the Great Eruption. Eta Carinae became the second brightest star in the sky between 11 and 14 March 1843 before fading well below naked eye visibility. It has brightened consistently since about 1940, peaking above magnitude 4.5 in 2014. Eta Carinae is circumpolar south of latitude 30°S, so it is never visible north of latitude 30°N.
 


1851 – Italian Romantic composer Giuseppe Verdi's opera Rigoletto was first performed at La Fenice in Venice.

1946 – Rudolf Höss, the first commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp, was captured by British troops.

1978 – After hijacking a bus north of Tel Aviv, members of Palestine Liberation Organization faction Fatah engaged in a shootout with the Israel Police, resulting in the deaths of 38 civilians and most of the perpetrators.

2006 – Michelle Bachelet (pictured) was inaugurated as the first female President of Chile.





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