solar system

Pierre Janssen and the Discovery of Helium

Pierre Janssen and the Discovery of Helium

When watching the total eclipse on August 18, 1868 in Madras, British India, French astronomer Pierre Janssen discovered the new chemical element Helium. Janssen also is credited with discovering the gaseous nature of the solar chromosphere. Youth and Education Janssen was born in Paris in 1824. An accident when he was young left him extremely lame and it is for this reason that he was unable to go to school. He studied at…
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Allan Hills 84001 and Is There Life on Mars?

Allan Hills 84001 and Is There Life on Mars?

Allan Hills 84001 (commonly abbreviated ALH 84001) is a meteorite that was found in Allan Hills, Antarctica on December 27, 1984 by a team of U.S. meteorite hunters. What makes it so special that it is responsible for worldwide headlines on August 6, 1996, when NASA scientists announced that it might contain evidence for microscopic fossils of Martian bacteria based on carbonate globules observed. A Meteorite from a “Wet” Mars ALH84001 is a meteorite thought to…
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Jérôme Lalande – Astronomer in Times of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution

Jérôme Lalande – Astronomer in Times of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution

On July 11, 1732, French astronomer, freemason and writer Jérôme Lalande was born. Lalande is best known for having determined the Moon’s parallax from Berlin for the French Academy in 1751. His planetary tables, into which he introduced corrections for mutual perturbations, were the best available up to the end of the 18th century. Jérôme Lalande – Early Years Jérôme Lalande first studied at the Jesuit College in Lyon and later went…
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George Ellery Hale –  Large Telescopes and the Spectroheliograph

George Ellery Hale – Large Telescopes and the Spectroheliograph

On June 29, 1868, American solar astronomer George Ellery Hale was born. He is best known for his discovery of magnetic fields in sunspots, and as the leader or key figure in the planning or construction of several world-leading telescopes, including the 200-inch Hale reflecting telescope at Palomar Observatory. Like buried treasures, the outposts of the universe have beckoned to the adventurous from immemorial times. Princes and potentates, political or industrial, equally…
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Alfred Nier – a Pioneer in Mass Spectroscopy

Alfred Nier – a Pioneer in Mass Spectroscopy

On May 28, 1911, American physicist Alfred Otto Carl Nier was born. Nier pioneered the development of mass spectrometry. He was the first to use mass spectrometry to isolate uranium-235 which was used to demonstrate that 235U could undergo fission and developed the sector mass spectrometer configuration now known as Nier-Johnson geometry. “…You try to untangle all of these processes to get at the primordial ratio of the heliums in the cosmic…
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John Tebbutt and the Great Comet of 1861

John Tebbutt and the Great Comet of 1861

On May 13, 1861, Australian astronomer John Tebbutt discovered C/1861 J1, the Great Comet of 1861. C/1861 J1 is a long-period comet that was visible to the naked eye for approximately 3 months. It was categorized as a Great Comet, one of the eight greatest comets of the 19th century. John Tebbutt – Becoming an Astronomer John Tebbutt Tebbutt was born at Windsor, New South Wales, the only son of John Tebbutt, then a prosperous store…
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Edward Walter Maunder and the Sunspots

Edward Walter Maunder and the Sunspots

On April 12, 1851, British astronomer Edward Walter Maunder was born. Maunder was the first to take the British Civil Service Commission examination for the post of photographic and spectroscopic assistant at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. He is best remembered for his study of sunspots and the solar magnetic cycle that led to his identification of the period from 1645 to 1715 that is now known as the Maunder Minimum. “If we…
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Luna 10 – the First Artificial Satellite of the Moon

Luna 10 – the First Artificial Satellite of the Moon

On March 31, 1966, Soviet Luna program, robotic spacecraft mission was launched. Luna 10 was the first artificial satellite of the Moon. In 1959 the Soviet Union started its lunar exploration program with Luna 1 and continued the program until 1976 with Luna 24. The Luna Programme The Luna programme consisted of a series of robotic spacecraft missions sent to the Moon by the Soviet Union between 1959 and 1976. Fifteen out…
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Pioneer 5 and the Interplanetary Magnetic Fields

Pioneer 5 and the Interplanetary Magnetic Fields

On March 11, 1960, NASA space probe Pioneer 5 was launched from Cape Canaveral. Pioneer 5 as part of the NASA Pioneer program was used to investigate interplanetary space between the orbits of Earth and Venus. As this, it was in one of the first in-depth attempts to study the solar system. Among other accomplishments, the probe confirmed the existence of interplanetary magnetic fields. The NASA Pioneer Program Pioneer 5 was part…
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Pierre Gassendi and his Trials to reconcile Epicurean Atomism with Christianity

Pierre Gassendi and his Trials to reconcile Epicurean Atomism with Christianity

You have read the title? I guess, you might be scared now, but Pierre Gassendi was a decent fellow… On January 22, 1592, French philosopher, priest, scientist, astronomer, and mathematician. Pierre Gassendi was born. Gassendi revived Epicureanism as a substitute for Aristotelianism, attempting in the process to reconcile Atomism‘s mechanistic explanation of nature with Christian belief in immortality, free will, an infinite God, and creation.He clashed with his contemporary Descartes on the possibility…
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