On this day in 1912, at approximately 11:40 p.m., an iceberg was sighted along Titanic’s maiden voyage across the Atlantic. The crew reversed the engines, pulling the ship “hard-a-starboard,” and it began to turn—but it was too late.
Above, a group of men gaze up at Titanic’s massive rudders, which couldn’t save the ship in that fateful moment, before the liner set off to sea. The photo is one of our photo collection commemorating the anniversary of the sinking. View the rest on Smithsonian.com.
Atmospheric conditions in the area that night were ripe for super refraction, British historian Tim Maltin found. This extraordinary bending of light causes miraging, which, he discovered, was recorded by several ships in the area.
The man behind the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar, Hershey’s Kisses, Hershey’s Syrup, and the Pennsylvania city that bears his name had spent the winter in France and planned to sail home on the Titanic.