Johannes Kepler

Jeremiah Horrocks and the Transit of Venus

Jeremiah Horrocks and the Transit of Venus

On January 3, 1641, English astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks passed away. He was the first scientist to demonstrate that the Moon moved around the Earth in an elliptical orbit and was the only person to predict the transit of Venus of 1639. Background Jeremiah Horrocks grew up in a well educated family and was introduced to astronomy in early years. He was occupied with many astronomical tasks as a young boy and enrolled at…
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Giuseppe Piazzi and the Discovery of Dwarf Planet Ceres

Giuseppe Piazzi and the Discovery of Dwarf Planet Ceres

On January 1, 1801, Italian Catholic priest of the Theatine order, mathematician, and astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi discovered Ceres, today known as the largest member of the asteroid belt. We already had several articles on almost all the planets of the Solar System, including the dwarf planets. [14] As you might know, our Solar System does not only comprise the Sun and the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Besides…
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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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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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Sir Isaac Newton and the famous Principia

Sir Isaac Newton and the famous Principia

On July 5, 1687, Sir Isaac Newton published his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (in Latin). It is to be considered as the most influential work of Sir Isaac Newton and as one of the greatest scientific works of all time. The original impulse to work on the Principia gave Edmund Halley,[2,3] the English scientist known for his calculations on the orbits of comets and for being the second Astronomer Royal in Britain. In 1684,…
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And Kepler Has His Own Opera – Kepler’s 3rd Planetary Law

And Kepler Has His Own Opera – Kepler’s 3rd Planetary Law

On May 15, 1618, famous astronomer Johannes Kepler discovered the 3rd and also last of his planetary laws, and concluded the general revolution of our celestial world that started with Nikolaus Kopernikus about 100 years earlier.[1] And that made him rather popular as he still is today. Did you know that there is a Kepler crater on the Moon, a Kepler crater on Mars, a Kepler asteroid, a Kepler supernova, of course there…
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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – Sir Isaac Newton

On January 4, 1643 [N.S.] (25 December 1642 [O.S.]), Sir Isaac Newton, famous physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian, was born. With his Principia Newton laid the foundation of modern classical mechanics. Besides he constructed the very first reflecting telescope and independent of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz developed differential and integral calculus [10]. “We are to admit no more causes of natural things than such as are both true and sufficient to…
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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 sphere, which…
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Johannes Fabricius and the Sunspots

Johannes Fabricius and the Sunspots

Probably on June 13, 1611, Dutch astronomer Johannes Fabricius published his Narratio de maculis in sole observatis et apparente earum cum sole conversione (Account of Spots Observed on the Sun and of Their Apparent Rotation with the Sun), which counts as the first published description of sunspots. Nevertheless, sunspots have been discovered earlier, as the first record of a sunspot drawing dates back into the 12th century to John of Worcester in…
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SN 1987A – Supernova

SN 1987A – Supernova

On February 24, 1987, SN 1987A, a supernova in the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud occured visible to the naked eye. It was the closest observed supernova since Kepler’s Supernova  SN 1604, which occurred in the Milky Way itself. Due to the relative proximity to Earth, SN 1987A became one of the best studied supernovae of all time. After its discovery was announced, nearly every telescope in…
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