History of Astronomy

  • 200

    Aristotle

    Aristotle
    Aristotle(384 BC-323 BC) Aristotle laid the foundations of Western Philosophy. The wide nature of Aristotle's thought helped him to develop a comprehensive system of philosophy that still influences Western culture today.
  • 200

    Aristarchus of Samos

    Aristarchus of Samos
    picAristarchus of Samos(310 BC-230 BC) The first to maintain that the earth moves around the sun. His method of estimating the relative lunar and solar distances is geometrically correct.
  • 200

    Eratosthenes

    Eratosthenes
    picEratosthenes(276 BC-196 BC) Eratosthenes was the founder of scientific chronology. Works on moral philosophy, history, and a number of letters were also attributed to him.
  • 200

    Pythagoras

    Pythagoras
    Pythagoras(575 BC-507 BC) The first to consider the Earth as a sphere revolving with the other planets and the sun around a universal "central fire". Pythagoras also recognized that the orbit of the moos was inclined to the equator of the Earth.
  • 200

    Hipparchus

    Hipparchus
    picHipparchus(190 BC-120 BC) Hipparchus founded trigonometry. He made the capital discovery of the precession of the equinoxes in 130.
  • 200

    Ancient Greek Astronomy

    Ancient Greek Astronomy
    ancient(648 BC) The Greeks were credited with several important discoveries in astronomy. Aristarchus of Samos (310-230 B.C.) was the first to suggest that the earth revolved on an axis and moved around the sun. The Greek philosopher Anaxagoras discovered that the moon reflected the suns rays, instead of producing light itself.
  • Feb 19, 1473

    Copernicus

    Copernicus
    PictureCopernicus(1473-1543) Most famously known for postulating the theory of the heliocentric model. His work became the basic of the astronomical revolution during the Renaissance.
  • Dec 14, 1546

    Tycho Brahe

    Tycho Brahe
    pictureTycho Brahe(1546-1601) Brahe vastly improved the art of astronomical observation. He constructed a table of refractions, allowed for instrumental inaccuraces, and eliminated by averaging accidental errors.
  • Feb 15, 1564

    Galileo Galilei

    Galileo Galilei
    pictureGalileo(1564-1642) One of the most famous astronomers and scientists in history. His work developed much of the modern concepts by which research is conducted today. His conflict with the Catholic Church over the nature of the solar system is one of the major events of his life.
  • Dec 27, 1571

    Johannes Kepler

    Johannes Kepler
    pictureJohannes Kepler(1571-1630) Known for his three laws of planetary motion. Kepler also laid the foundation of modern optics. Along with his deep interest in astronomy, Kepler was also fascinated with astrology and astrological conjunctions.
  • Isaac Newton

    Isaac Newton
    pictureIsaac Newton(1642-1727) Newton is the principal founder of calculus, optics, and physics. In 1690 he showed that colored light is actually fundamental, meaning that it can recombined to make white light.
  • Annie Jump Cannon

    Annie Jump Cannon
    pictureAnnie Jump Cannon(1863-1941) Cannon found a different system by categorizing stars by letters of the alphabet that is now called the Harvard Spectral Classification Scheme. Her methodology was adopted by the International Astronomical Union in 1922 as the official system for stellar spectra classification.
  • George Hale

    George Hale
    pictureGeorge Hale(1868-1938) Hale invented the spectroneliograph, and discovered that the flaming whirlpools of hydrogen leaped 300,000 miles from the surface of the sun.
  • Henrietta Swan Leavitt

    Henrietta Swan Leavitt
    pictureHenrietta Leavitt(1868-1921) Leavitt discovered 1,777 variable stars in the Magellanic Clouds, and noticed that (in oversimplified terms) brighter stars twinkle slower, and dimmer stars twinkle faster. From this observation, she calculated the relationship between stars' luminosity and period of pulsation.
  • Albert Einstein

    Albert Einstein
    pictureAlbert Einstein(1879-1955) In 1911 he was the youngest physicist present at the Solvay Conference in Brussels, the first modern meeting of physicists, and by the end of the decade he was the world's most famous scientist. Einstein developed the theory of relativity, which was questioned and argued among physicists for years.
  • Edwin Hubble

    Edwin Hubble
    pictureEdwin Hubble(1889-1953) Hubble created a classification system for galaxies and also developed Hubble's Law in 1929.
  • Gerard Kuiper

    Gerard Kuiper
    pictureGerard(1905-1973) Kuiper founded the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona in 1960 and served as its director until his death.In 1944 he was able to confirm the presence of a methane atmosphere around Saturn's moon Titan.
  • Bengt Georg Daniel Stromgren

    Bengt Georg Daniel Stromgren
    picBengt Stromgren(1908-1987) In 1932 Stromgren determined that hydrogen is the main component of stellar matter, and helium the lesser. He made major advances in narrow-band photoelectric photometry, developing a four-color system now known as the Strömgren photometric system.
  • Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar

    Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar
    subrahSubrahmanyan(1910-1995) He calculated that a star with a remaining mass greater than 1.4 times that of the Sun (now called the Chandrasekhar limit) will collapse and become a neutron star during a supernova explosion. He also showed that a star will collapse once it has exhausted its nuclear fuel, a process that will end in most stars because of the outward pressure exerted by a degenerate gas.
  • Grote Reber

    Grote Reber
    grotepic(1911-2002) In 1938 and 1943 Reber made the first surveys of radio waves from the sky and published his results both in engineering and astronomy journals.
  • James Van Allen

    James Van Allen
    picjames(1914-2006) Van Allen was involved in the first four Explorer probes, the first Pioneers, several Mariner efforts, and the orbiting geophysical observatory.
  • Sir Fred Hoyle

    Sir Fred Hoyle
    picSir Fred Hoyle(1915-2001) He was the founding director of the Cambridge Institute of Theoretical Astronomy, and was widely known in the general public for lectures aired in BBC broadcasts, for books popularizing science, and for numerous science fiction novels
  • E, Margaret Burbidge

    E, Margaret Burbidge
    picMargaret Burbidge(1919-present) Burbidge developed better explanation of how elements are formed by nuclear reactions inside stars. She made notable contributions to the modern understanding of quasars, questioned the Big Bang theory, was the first woman to serve as Director of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, and she was at the forefront of developing instrumentation for the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Eugene Shoemaker

    Eugene Shoemaker
    picEugene(1928-1997) Eugene was one of the founders of the fields of planetary science. He helped pioneer the field of astrogeology by founding the Astrogeology Research Program of the U.S. geological survey in 1961 at Flagstaff, Arizona, and he was its first director.
  • Thomas Mutch

    Thomas Mutch
    picTim(1931-1980) Mutch had designed the camera on the Viking Lander I craft with the help of Bill Patterson in the Physics Department, and he directed the photographing of the planet. He received a NASA medal for scientific achievement in 1977.