December 15, 2000: The Chernobyl nuclear plant is officially shut down more than 14 years after one of its reactors exploded, resulting in the world's worst civil nuclear disaster.
December 17, 1919: Seismographer and meteorologist Albert Porta predicts that a conjunction of six planets on this date would spell the end of the world. The alignment of planets would cause a magnetic current which would pierce the sun and engulf the earth in flames. As the date approached suicides and hysteria were reported throughout the world.
week-201209December 17, 1903: The Wright brothers make the first powered flight in the Kitty Hawk, at Kill Devil Hill, North Carolina. For the first time, a machine carrying a man had raised itself by its own power into the air in full flight, had sailed forward without reduction of speed and had finally landed at a point as high as that from which it started.