astronomy

Alan Sandage and the Discovery of the Quasars

Alan Sandage and the Discovery of the Quasars

On June 18, 1926, American astronomer Allan Rex Sandage was born. Sandage determined the first reasonably accurate values for the Hubble constant and the age of the universe. Foremost, he is also credited with the discovery of the 3C 48 quasar, i.e. quasi-stellar radio sources which are the most energetic and distant members of a class of objects called active galactic nuclei. The Discovery of Quasars Between 1917 and 1922, it became…
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John Tebbutt and the Great Comet of 1861

John Tebbutt and the Great Comet of 1861

On May 13, 1861, Australian astronomer John Tebbutt discovered C/1861 J1, the Great Comet of 1861. C/1861 J1 is a long-period comet that was visible to the naked eye for approximately 3 months. It was categorized as a Great Comet, one of the eight greatest comets of the 19th century. John Tebbutt – Becoming an Astronomer John Tebbutt Tebbutt was born at Windsor, New South Wales, the only son of John Tebbutt, then a prosperous store…
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Edward Walter Maunder and the Sunspots

Edward Walter Maunder and the Sunspots

On April 12, 1851, British astronomer Edward Walter Maunder was born. Maunder was the first to take the British Civil Service Commission examination for the post of photographic and spectroscopic assistant at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. He is best remembered for his study of sunspots and the solar magnetic cycle that led to his identification of the period from 1645 to 1715 that is now known as the Maunder Minimum. “If we…
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Henry Draper and his Passion for Astronomy

Henry Draper and his Passion for Astronomy

On March 7, 1837, American physiologist and amateur astronomer Henry Draper was born. He is best known today as a pioneer of astrophotography. After his death, the Henry Draper Catalog of stellar spectra as well the Henry Draper medal is named after him. Henry Draper – Early Years Henry Draper was the son of John William Draper,[6] a doctor, chemist, and professor at New York University. He was known for his interest in…
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SN 1987A – The Best Studied Supernova of All Time

SN 1987A – The Best Studied Supernova of All Time

On February 24, 1987, SN 1987A, a supernova in the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud occurred visible to the naked eye. It was the closest observed supernova since Kepler’s Supernova  SN 1604, which occurred in the Milky Way itself.[5] SN 1987A – The Best Studied Supernova of all Time Due to the relative proximity to Earth, SN 1987A became one of the best studied supernovae of all…
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Georg Joachim Rheticus and the Copernican Revolution

Georg Joachim Rheticus and the Copernican Revolution

On February 16, 1514, mathematician, cartographer, navigational-instrument maker, medical practitioner, and teacher Georg Joachim Rheticus was born. He is perhaps best known for his trigonometric tables and as Nicolaus Copernicus’ [4] sole pupil, who facilitated the publication of his master’s famous work De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres). Georg Joachim Rheticus – Youth and Education Georg Joachim Rheticus was born in Feldkirch, the county of Tyrol in the Holy Roman Empire,…
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John Dreyer and the New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters

John Dreyer and the New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters

On February 13, 1852, Danish-Irish astronomer John Louis Emil Dreyer was born. Dreyer’s major contribution was the monumental New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars (based on William Herschels Catalogue of Nebulae)[5], the catalogue numbers of which are still in use today. Education and Assistant to Lord Rosse John Louis Emil Dreyer was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, the son of Lieutenant General John Christopher Dreyer, back then the Danish Minister for…
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Pierre Gassendi and his Trials to reconcile Epicurean Atomism with Christianity

Pierre Gassendi and his Trials to reconcile Epicurean Atomism with Christianity

You have read the title? I guess, you might be scared now, but Pierre Gassendi was a decent fellow… On January 22, 1592, French philosopher, priest, scientist, astronomer, and mathematician. Pierre Gassendi was born. Gassendi revived Epicureanism as a substitute for Aristotelianism, attempting in the process to reconcile Atomism‘s mechanistic explanation of nature with Christian belief in immortality, free will, an infinite God, and creation.He clashed with his contemporary Descartes on the possibility…
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John Couch Adams and the Discovery of Planet Neptune

John Couch Adams and the Discovery of Planet Neptune

On January 21, 1821, English mathematician and astronomer John Couch Adams passed away. Adams most famous achievement was predicting the existence and position of Neptune, using only mathematics. The calculations were made to explain discrepancies with Uranus‘s orbit and the laws of Kepler and Newton. At the same time, but unknown to each other, the same calculations were made by Urbain Le Verrier.[5] Youth and Education John Couch Adams was born at…
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Project Diana hits the Moon… in 1946

Project Diana hits the Moon… in 1946

On January 10, 1946 the U.S. Army Project Diana team detected radar signals reflected off the moon‘s surface. This was the first experiment in radar astronomy and the first active attempt to probe another celestial body. Project Pioneer John H. DeWitt Project Diana was designed in order to bounce radar signals off the Moon and receive the reflected signals, which became the first known attempt to probe another celestial body. Pioneer of…
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