astronomy

Jocelyn Bell Burnell and the Discovery of Pulsars

Jocelyn Bell Burnell and the Discovery of Pulsars

A composite image of the Crab Nebula showing the X-ray (blue), and optical (red) images superimposed. 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…
Sir Arthur Eddington – The Man who Proved Einstein’s General Relativity

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

Arthur Eddington (1882 – 1944) 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. Through hard work and lots of talent, Eddington earned a scholarship to Owens College, where he was able to improve his knowledge in physics.…
Edmond Halley and his famous Comet

Edmond Halley and his famous Comet

Sir Edmond Halley (1656-1742)©Klaus-Dieter Keller, wikipedia 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. Edmond Halley was born in England to the family of a wealthy soap maker. Therefore, Halley was able to receive a proper education and started studying at Queen’s College in Oxford, where he already published his…
The Arecibo Radio Telescope – Looking for Extraterrestrial Signals

The Arecibo Radio Telescope – Looking for Extraterrestrial Signals

The Arecibo radio telescope is the largest single-dish telescope in the world. 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…
Eris – The Planet of Discord

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 godess of discord. And discord it should be, because Eris as a planet is rather small and astronomers were arguing, whether it…
Much More Powerful Than Expected – Kepler’s Supernova

Much More Powerful Than Expected – Kepler’s Supernova

X-ray, Optical and Infrared Composite of Kepler’s Supernova Remnant On October 17, 1604, the famous German astronomer Johannes Kepler 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 milkyway. The supernova was first observed on October 9, 1604, a few days before Kepler really looked…
Galileo Galilei and his Telescope

Galileo Galilei and his Telescope

Galileo Galilei showing the Doge of Venice how to use the telescope,Fresco at Villa Andrea Ponti, Varese, 1858 On August 25, 1609, Galileo Galilei publicly demonstrated his newly built telescope for the first time 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…
Shoemaker-Levy 9 hits Jupiter

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. 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 be discovered. The…
To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before – Voyager 2

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

Jupiter with the great red spot shot from Voyager 1© NASA/CalTech/JPL 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…
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. China was able to contribute to the developments in the science of astronomy critically. In their philosophy, the harmony between earth, the sky and humankind were essential, and therefore any disturbance to that balance had to be predicted. This believe caused the astronomers of the historical China…
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