astrophysics

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin and the Composition of Stars

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin and the Composition of Stars

On May 10, 1900, British–American astronomer and astrophysicist Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin was born. She was the first to apply laws of atomic physics to the study of the temperature and density of stellar bodies, and the first to conclude that hydrogen and helium are the two most common elements in the universe. It was another 20 years before Payne’s original claim was confirmed, by Fred Hoyle. Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin earned a scholarship to…
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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. Carl Sagan grew up in Brooklyn, New York and received his education in mainly public schools. Even though his parents were no scientists, they have influenced his later career dramatically. Taking him…
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Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and the Evolution of Stars

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and the Evolution of Stars

Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910-1995) On October 19, 1910, Indian-American astrophysicist and Nobel Laureate Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was born. He won the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics together with William Alfred Fowler for key discoveries that led to the currently accepted theory on the later evolutionary stages of massive stars. If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you might have encountered articles about scientists, artists, or explorers you might have never heard of.…
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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 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 he attended University (most probably…
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