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On This Day in History

Good News in History, August 18

150 years ago today, the colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas, Helium, was first discovered. Named for the Greek Titan of the Sun, Helios, it showed...

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On This Day in History

Good News in History, August 18

150 years ago today, the colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas, Helium, was first discovered. Named for the Greek Titan of the Sun, Helios, it showed up as an unknown yellow spectral line signature during a solar eclipse. Norman Lockyer was the first to propose that it was a new element, which he named. The second most abundant element in the observable universe, most helium in the universe is helium-4, the vast majority of which was formed during the Big Bang. Used in the cooling of superconducting magnets, in MRI scanners, and for arc welding, a well-known but minor use is as a lifting gas in balloons and airships. (1868)