Notable Astronomers

Tuesday 19 September 2017 - 23:40:14 Posted by  Bobby
 Nicolaus Copernicus


 Nicolaus Copernicus was a Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who  formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the center of the universe. The publication of this model in his book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) just before his death in 1543 is considered a major event in the history of science, triggering the Copernican Revolution and making an important contribution to the Scientific Revolution.

 Giordano Bruno

(1548- 1600)

 Giordano, born Filippo Bruno, was an Italian visionary whose radical ideas led to his destruction. Bruno joined the Dominican order at 15 but soon broke with the church to travel Europe teaching about the soul, the universe, and infinity. Though no scientist, he supported the Copernican system and wrote that "innumerable suns exist; innumerable earths revolve around these suns. Living beings inhabit these worlds".
These and other heretical words brought him to the attention of the Inquisition; he was burned at the stake in Rome in 1600.

 Galileo Galilei

(1564- 1642)

 Galileo was a mathematics professor who made pioneering observations of nature with long-lasting implications for the study of physics. He also constructed a telescope and supported the Copernican theory, which supports a sun-centered solar system. Galileo was accused twice of heresy by the church for his beliefs, and wrote books on his ideas. He died in Arcetri, Italy, on January 8, 1642.

 Giovanni Cassini


 Giovanni left his mark in several areas of solar system astronomy, but perhaps most permanently on the rings of Saturn, where the prominent dark gap between the A and B Rings is named for him. Born in Italy, Cassini studied the Sun, determined the rotations of Jupiter and Mars, and worked out the positions of Jupiter's satellites.

After becoming director of the newly founded Paris Observatory, he discovered Saturn's moons Lapetus, Tethys, Rhea, and Dione, as well as the ring division that now bears his name. Though he resisted revolutionary ideas, such as Newton's theory of gravitation, Cassini was a meticulous observer and is considered one of the finest astronomers of his era.

 Edmund Halley


 Edmund, son of a wealthy English soap maker, was a talented mathematician and astronomer by the time he reached his teens. Elected a Fellow of London's Royal Society in 1678, he soon became one of the country's leading scientists. With Robert Hooke, Halley deduced much of the mathematics of planetary orbits. He then helped Isaac Newton to publish the Prince of Peace, which worked out the theory more completely. His 1705 book A Synopsis of the Astronomy of Comets show that four historic comets were actually repeated visits of just one, which came to bear his name. Halley also made major contributions to navigation and meteorology.

 Charles Messier


 Messier was a French astronomer most notable for publishing an astronomical catalogue consisting of nebulae and star clusters that came to be known as the 110 "Messier objects". The purpose of the catalogue was to help astronomical observers, in particular comet hunters such as himself, distinguish between permanent and transient visually diffuse objects in the sky.

 William Herschel


 Herschel acquired his habits of persistence and perfectionism through long hours of organ practice as a child. The son of a German musician, Herschel worked for years as an organist in England before astronomy began to take over his life. He and his sister Caroline built numerous fine telescopes, one of which helped him detect a new planet, later called Uranus, on March 13th, 1781. King George III named him Royale Astronomer in 1782. Herschel went on to study the nature of nebulae and theorize that stars are organized into "island universes" (now called galaxies).

 Konstantin Tsiolkovsky


 Konstantin was a Russian scientist, and is credited with being the father of rocketry. After losing his hearing in childhood, Tsiolkovsky immersed himself in books, including the novels of Jules Verne, and in mathematics. As a young man, he studied aircraft design and built one of the first wind tunnels. In 1896 he began to write the groundbreaking "Exploration of Cosmic Space by Means of Reaction Devices," which outlined the basics of rocket propulsion. His theories laid the groundwork for modern space travel; the satellite Sputnik I was launched on his 100th birthday.

 Kenneth Edgeworth


 Edgeworth was born in Ireland, had a varied career as a soldier, economist, and astronomer. After serving with distinction in Britain's Royal Engineers during World War I, he went on to publish on both International Economics and astronomy. In 1943, his article suggesting that the solar system held a reservoir of comets beyond the planets anticipated Kuiper's prediction by several years.

 Gerard Peter Kuiper


 Kuiper, a Dutch-American astronomer, contributed much to planetary science, including discovering Neptune's moon Nereid, Uranus's moon Miranda, and Titan's atmosphere. He is best known for predicting the existence of a belt of icy bodies beyond Neptune. The hard-working Kuiper also served as the director of the Yerkes Observatory and Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Observatory.

 Clyde William Tombaugh


 Clyde was the very ideal of an amateur astronomer. Living on a Kansas farm where he built his own telescopes, at the age of 22 TombBaugh was hired by Arizona's Lowell Observatory to photograph the sky in search of Percival Lowells hypothetical planet X. Painstakingly studying images of the night taken several days apart for months, in 1930 the young astronomer discovered the ninth planet. Tombaugh went on to find star clusters, galaxies, a comet, and many asteroids, as well as to found the Astronomy program at New Mexico State University.

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