astronomy

Tycho Brahe – The Man with the Golden Nose

Tycho Brahe – The Man with the Golden Nose

On December 14, 1546, Danish nobleman and astronomer Tycho Brahe, known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations was born. “Non haberi, sed esse.” “Not shine, but be.” – Tycho Brahe’s Election slogan Background Tycho Brahe was born at Knutstorp Castle, Scania, at that time Denmark, into a politically powerful family of noblemen and political advisors. He grew up with his uncle, also a nobleman, who supplied his nephew with a…
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Jocelyn Bell Burnell and the Discovery of Pulsars

Jocelyn Bell Burnell and the Discovery of Pulsars

On November 28, 1967, Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Anthony Hewish discovered the first Pulsar, a fast rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. The radiation of a pulsar can only be observed when the beam of emission is pointing toward the Earth, much the way a lighthouse can only be seen when the light is pointed in the direction of an observer, and is responsible for the pulsed appearance…
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Sir Arthur Eddington – The Man who Proved Einstein’s General Relativity

Sir Arthur Eddington – The Man who Proved Einstein’s General Relativity

On November 22, 1944, British astrophysicist and philosopher Sir Arthur Stanley Eddington passed away. He became famous for his 1919 solar eclipse expedition to Principe, where he conducted astrophysical experiments to give proof for Albert Einstein‘s seminal theory of general relativity. “At terrestrial temperatures matter has complex properties which are likely to prove most difficult to unravel; but it is reasonable to hope that in the not too distant future we shall be…
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Sir Edmond Halley and his famous Comet

Sir Edmond Halley and his famous Comet

On November 8, 1656, Sir Edmond Halley was born. The astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist, was best known for computing the orbit of the eponymous Halley’s Comet.[9] “Wherefore, if, according to what we have already said, it should return again about the year 1758, candid posterity will not refuse to acknowledge that this was first discovered by an Englishman.” – Edmond Halley, as quoted in An Essay towards a History of…
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The Arecibo Radio Telescope – Looking for Extraterrestrial Signals

The Arecibo Radio Telescope – Looking for Extraterrestrial Signals

On November 1, 1963, the Arecibo radio telescope, by that time the earth‘s largest radio telescope, has been inaugurated in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. It is operated by the company SRI International under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation and is also called the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, although “NAIC” refers to both the observatory and the staff that operates it. Construction and Functionality The Arecibo telescope was built between the…
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To be or Not to be a Planet – Eris, the planet of Discord

To be or Not to be a Planet – Eris, the planet of Discord

On October 21, 2003, a photograph of the nocturnal sky was taken, where almost 2 years later, in January 2005, evidence was raised that there might be a 10th planet at the borders of our solar system: Eris, located in the Kuiper Belt and named after the Greek goddess of discord. And discord it should be, because Eris as a planet is rather small and astronomers were arguing, whether it is a…
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Much More Powerful Than Expected – Kepler’s Supernova

Much More Powerful Than Expected – Kepler’s Supernova

On October 17, 1604, the famous German astronomer Johannes Kepler [5] started his observations of the 1604 supernova, named after him as Kepler’s Supernova or Kepler’s Star. Special about this ‘new’ star was it being the very last observed supernova in our own galaxy, the Milky way. First Sightings The supernova was first observed on 9 October 1604 by Ilario Altobelli in Verona and Raffaello Gualterotti in Florence, a few days before Kepler…
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The End of a Comet – Shoemaker-Levy 9 hits Jupiter

The End of a Comet – Shoemaker-Levy 9 hits Jupiter

On July 22, 1994, the last parts of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with the largest planet within our solar system, Jupiter. This was the first time, that an extraterrestrial collision of two objects could be directly observed. Eugene Shoemaker and David Levy Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 approaching Jupiter Shoemaker-Levy 9 got its name from the US-American scientists Eugene Shoemaker, his wive Carolyn, and David Levy, it was the 9th periodic comet to…
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To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before – Voyager 2

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before – Voyager 2

On July 9, 1979 the interplanetary spacecraft Voyager 2 passed Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System. The space probe had been launched by NASA on August 20, 1977 to study the outer Solar System and eventually to push forward into interstellar space. Until today,  operating for more than 30 years the spacecraft still receives routine commands and transmits data back to the Deep Space Network, a world-wide network of large antennas…
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The Supernova of 1054

The Supernova of 1054

On July 4, 1054, Chinese astronomers observed a new star in the constellation of Taurus, which later turned out to be a supernova. However, even before the Chinese, on 11 April 1054, a monk in Flanders noticed a “bright disc in the afternoon“. This was the first traditional observation of a supernova explosion. “First year of the Zhihe era, fifth lunar month, ji-chou day. A guest star has appeared to the south-east of…
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