astronomy

Donald Howard Menzel and the UFOs

Donald Howard Menzel and the UFOs

On April 11, 1901, theoretical astronomer and astrophysicist Donald Howard Menzel was born. Menzel discovered the physical properties of the solar chromosphere, the chemistry of stars, the atmosphere of Mars, and the nature of gaseous nebulae. Moreover, he was best known for his arguments against the existence of extraterrestrial UFO‘s. Donald Howard Menzel already collected rocks as a child and built a chemistry laboratory in the cellar of his family’s…
John Louis Emil Dreyer and the New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters

John Louis Emil 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), the catalogue numbers of which are still in use today. John Louis Emil Dreyer was the son of Lieutenant General John Christopher Dreyer, back then the Danish Minister for War and the Navy. From early age, Dreyer…
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. John Couch Adams was born at Lidcot,…
Project Diana hits the Moon

Project Diana hits the Moon

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 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 the project was …
CoRoT Space Observatory

CoRoT Space Observatory

On December 27, 2006, the European space observatory CoRoT was launched. CoRoT‘s two objectives are to search for extrasolar planets with short orbital periods, particularly those of large terrestrial size, and to perform asteroseismology by measuring solar-like oscillations in stars. CoRoT stands for COnvection ROtation and planetary Transits (French: COnvection ROtation et Transits planétaires) and is a space observatory mission led by the French Space Agency (CNES) in conjunction with…
Edward Emerson Barnard and Celestial Photography

Edward Emerson Barnard and Celestial Photography

On December 16, 1856, American astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard was born. Barnard is best known for his discovery of the high proper motion of Barnard’s Star in 1916, which is named in his honor. He also pioneered in celestial photography, specializing in wide-field photography. Edward Barnard became a photographer’s assistant at the age of about nine. Later on, he began develop enthusiasm for astronomy. Around 1876, Barnard purchased a 130mm refractor telescope,…
Johann Elert Bode and the Titius-Bode Law

Johann Elert Bode and the Titius-Bode Law

On November 23, 1826, German astronomer Johann Elert Bode passed away. Bode is best known for his popularization of the Titius-Bode‘s law, a hypothesis that the bodies in some orbital systems, including the Sun‘s, orbit at semi-major axes in a function of planetary sequence. The formula suggests that, extending outward, each planet would be approximately twice as far from the Sun as the one before. Johann Elert Bode was born…
The Almanachs of Benjamin Banneker

The Almanachs of Benjamin Banneker

On November 9, 1731, American almanac author, surveyor, naturalist and farmer Benjamin Banneker was born. Born in Baltimore County, Maryland, to a free African American woman and a former slave, Banneker had little formal education and was largely self-taught. Banneker’s knowledge of astronomy helped him author a commercially successful series of almanacs. He corresponded with Thomas Jefferson, drafter of the United States Declaration of Independence, on the topics of slavery…
Hipparchus of Nicaea and the Precession of the Equinoxes

Hipparchus of Nicaea and the Precession of the Equinoxes

Hipparchus of Nicaea was a Greek astronomer, geographer, and mathematician in the second century BC. He is considered the founder of trigonometry but is most famous for his incidental discovery of precession of the equinoxes. His other reputed achievements include the discovery and measurement of Earth‘s precession, the compilation of the first comprehensive star catalog of the western world, and possibly the invention of the astrolabe, also of the armillary…
Karl Jansky and the Discovery of Cosmic Radio Waves

Karl Jansky and the Discovery of Cosmic Radio Waves

On October 22, 1905, American physicist and radio engineer Karl Guthe Jansky was born. In August 1931 Jansky first discovered radio waves emanating from the Milky Way. He is considered one of the founding figures of radio astronomy. Karl Jansky was born the third of six children in what was then the Territory of Oklahoma where his father, Cyril M. Jansky, the descendent of Czech immigrants, was Dean of the College…
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