astronomy

The Universe goes beyond the Milky Way – thanks to Edwin Hubble

The Universe goes beyond the Milky Way – thanks to Edwin Hubble

On November 20, 1889, American astronomer Edwin Hubble was born. He is best known for his role in establishing the field of extragalactic astronomy and is generally regarded as one of the most important observational cosmologists of the 20th century. “Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.” – Edwin Hubble (1929) Edwin Hubble – Early Years Although Edwin Hubble earned pretty good grades in…
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Carl Sagan’s Cosmos

Carl Sagan’s Cosmos

On November 9, 1934, American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, and successful author Carl Sagan was born. Carl Sagan is known for his popular science books and for the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which he narrated and co-wrote. “In science it often happens that scientists say, “You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,” and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that…
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Ole Rømer and the Speed of Light

Ole Rømer and the Speed of Light

On October 5, 1644 (or according to the old julian calendar September 25), Danish astronomer Ole Christensen Rømer was born. He became known by the first proof published in 1676 that the speed of light is finite and not infinite, respectively by the guidance, how the speed of light can be calculated by observation of the Jupiter moons. Ole Rømer – Early Years Ole Rømer was born in Århus, Denmark, to merchant and skipper…
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Hans Lippershey and the Telescope

Hans Lippershey and the Telescope

On October 2, 1608,  German-Dutch lensmaker Hans Lippershey applied to the States-General of the Netherlands for a patent for his instrument “for seeing things far away as if they were nearby”. Telescope History Even though scientists of the middle ages never heard of telescopes and most of them did not know specific laws of optics, they started laying the foundations for telescopes as we know them today. Before the invention of the telescope…
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The Great Moon Hoax of 1835

The Great Moon Hoax of 1835

On September 16, 1835, the New York Sun concedes that her serial article about the sensational discoveries of astronomer Sir John Herschel about the Moon was only a hoax to increase their circulation. In the history of newspaper this scandal is referred to as ‘The Great Moon Hoax of 1835‘. “GREAT ASTRONOMICAL DISCOVERIES LATELY MADE BY SIR JOHN HERSCHEL, L.L.D. F.R.S. &c. At the Cape of Good Hope” [From Supplement to the…
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Galileo Galilei and his Telescope

Galileo Galilei and his Telescope

On August 25, 1609, Galileo Galilei publicly demonstrated his newly built telescope to Venetian lawmakers. Besides its astronomical value Galileo‘s telescope was also a profitable sideline for him selling telescopes to merchants who found them useful both at sea and as items of trade. Galileo published his initial telescopic astronomical observations in March 1610 in a brief treatise entitled Sidereus Nuncius (Starry Messenger). Galileo Galilei Education and Early Career Galileo Galilei came from an…
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David Fabricius and the Wonders of the Heavens

David Fabricius and the Wonders of the Heavens

On August 13, 1596, German theologian and astronomer David Fabricius discovered the first known periodic variable star, which he called Mira Ceti (The ‘Wonder’ in the stellar constellation ‘Whale’). David Fabricius – Early Years David Fabricius was born in Esens, Lower Saxony and received a pretty good education, learning mostly Latin. In Braunschweig, he first gained a few experiences in astronomy. His teacher introduced him to astronomy as well as mathematics before…
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Robert Hooke and his Famous Observations of the Micrographia

Robert Hooke and his Famous Observations of the Micrographia

On July 18, 1635 (according to the old Julian calendar), English natural philosopher, architect and polymath Robert Hooke was born. He is known for his discovery of the laws of elasticity, now known as Hooke’s law. Hooke did research in a remarkable variety of fields. He was one of the first men to build a Gregorian reflecting telescope and to suggest that Jupiter rotates. His studies of microscopic fossils are what led…
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John Dee and his World of Science and Magic

John Dee and his World of Science and Magic

On July 13, 1527, Welsh mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, navigator, imperialist and consultant to Queen Elizabeth I, John Dee was born. He is considered one of the most learned men of his age. Besides being an ardent promoter of mathematics and a respected astronomer, in his later years he immersed himself in the worlds of magic, astrology and Hermetic philosophy. One of his aims was attempting to commune with angels in order to…
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The Mysterious Tunguska Event

The Mysterious Tunguska Event

On June 30, 1908, seismic stations all across Europe registered an enormously powerful shock wave, which originated from a location near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia. The so-called Tunguska event ever since has challenged the fantasy of scientists, who related it to the impact of a meteor or comet fragment, or even have developed theories that speak of black holes, anti matter or less exotic geothermical…
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