Today is the 278th day of 2012 and the 13th day of autumn.
TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, into orbit.
In 1958, trans-Atlantic passenger jet service began with commercial flights between New York and London.
In 1965, Pope Paul VI became the first reigning pontiff to visit the United States.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Edward Stratemeyer (1862-1930), children's author; Buster Keaton (1895-1966), comedian/filmmaker; Charlton Heston (1923-2008), actor; Jackie Collins (1937- ), novelist; Anne Rice (1941- ), novelist; Tony La Russa Jr. (1944- ), baseball player/manager; Susan Sarandon (1946- ), actress; Alicia Silverstone (1976- ), actress; Rachael Leigh Cook (1979- ), actress; Derrick Rose (1988- ), basketball player.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1955, the Brooklyn Dodgers finally won their first World Series after seven games against the New York Yankees. "Dem Bums" had lost four World Series in the previous eight seasons.
TODAY'S FACT: The longest nonstop scheduled passenger flight in 2010 departed from Newark, N.J., for Singapore and had a scheduled length of 18 hours, 50 minutes.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "I see nothing in space as promising as the view from a Ferris wheel." -- E.B. White
TODAY'S NUMBER: 184 -- weight (in pounds) of Sputnik, according to Soviet news agency Tass on the day of its launch.
TODAY'S MOON: Between full moon (Sept. 29) and last quarter (Oct. 8).