Here is a list of the most famous astronomers in history along with a brief description of their accomplishments.
ADAMS, JOHN COUCH (1819-1892)- English astronomer and mathematician. At the age of 24, Adams was the first person to predict thr posistion of a planetary body beyond Uranus. After Johann Gottfried Galle confirmed the existance of Neptune based on independent calculations done by Urbain Jean Joseph LeVerrier, the two disputed over who had priority.
BARNARD, EDWARD EMERSON (1857-1923)- American astronomer. Barnard discovered Jupiter's satellite Amalthea and Banard's Star, the second-nearest star to Earth.
BODE, JOHANN (1747-1826)- German astronomer. He is known for the bogus "Bode's Law" which attempts to explain the sizes of the planetary orbits.
BRAHE, TYCHO (1546-1601)- Danish astronomer. His accurate observations formed the basis for Johannes Kepler's laws of planetary motion.
CASSINI, GIOVANNI DOMENICO (1625-1712)- Cassini was the first director of the Royal Observatory in Paris. He discovered four of Saturn's moons and the major gap in the planet's rings.
COPERNICUS, NICOLAUS (1473-1543)- Polish astronomer who advanced the heliocentric theory that the Earth and other planets revolve around the Sun.
EINSTEIN, ALBERT (1879-1955)- Einstein developed the Special and General Theories of Realativity, which along with Quantom Mechanics, forms the foundation of modern physics.
GALLE, JOHANN GOTTFRIED (1812-1910)- Galle, along with Heinrich Louis d'Arrest, made the first observation of Neptune based on calculations by Urbain Jean Joseph LeVerrier and John Couch Adams.
GALILEO GALILEI (1564-1642)- Galileo was the first to use a telescope to study the stars. Observed the Moon, phases of Vens, sunspots, and discovered the four large moons of Jupiter.
HALL, ASAPH (1829-1907)- Hall discovered the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos.
HALLEY, EDMUND (1656-1742)- English astronomer who applied Newton's laws of motion to predict correctly the period of the comet which now has his name.
HERSCHEL, SIR WILLIAM (1738-1822)- Herschel discovered Uranus and catalouged more than 800 double stars and 2,500 nebulae.
HUBBLE, EDWIN (1889-1953)- First to determine that "spiral nebulae" were actually galaxies outside of the Milky Way, and the first to present evidence that the universe is expanding.
KEPLER, JOHANNES (1571-1630)- Considered the founder of modern astronomy, he formulated the three laws of planetary motion. They compose a formulation of Copernicus;s theory that the planets revolve around the Sun.
KUIPER, GERARD (1905-1973)- Kuiper is best known for his study of the surface of the Moon. He also discovered Miranda and Nereid, and an atmosphere on Titan.
LeVERRIER, URBAIN JEAN JOSEPH (1811-1877)- LeVerrier's used mathematics to help locate the planet Neptune.
NEWTON, ISAAC (1642-1727)- Newton invented calculus, discovered the classical laws of motion and gravity, built the first refelcting telescope, and demonstrated the compound nature of white light, in the process laying the foundation of spectroscopy.
OORT, JAN HENDRIK (1900-1992)- Oort made major contributions to the knowledge of the structure and rotation of our galaxy. He also studied comets, and formed a theory that the Solar System is surrounded by a cloud of comets called the Oort Cloud.
PTOLEMY (2nd century A.D.)- Based his astronomy on the belief that all heavenly bodies revolve around the Earth, a theory that would rule astronomy for over 1,000 years.
TOMBAUGH, CLYDE (1906-1997)- American astronomer who discovered the planet Pluto in 1930.
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