A, B, C,
D, E, F,
G, H, I,
J, K, L,
M, N, O,
P, Q, R,
S, T, U,
V, W, X,
- Adams, John Couch 1819-1892
- English astronomer and mathematician. At the age of 24, Adams was
the first person to predict the position of a planetary mass beyond
Johann Gottfried Galle
confirmed the existence of Neptune
based on independent calculations done by Urbain Jean Joseph
Le Verrier, the two became embroiled in
a dispute over priority.
- Barnard, Edward Emerson 1857-1923
- American astronomer.
Barnard discovered Jupiter's
and Barnard's star, the second-nearest star system to the Sun.
- 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.
- Bond, William Cranch 1789-1859
- American astronomer. One of the earliest American astronomers of note,
Bond rose from poverty and overcame a lack of formal education to become
the first director of the Harvard College Observatory. At the observatory, he studied Saturn and (with William Lassell)
discovered its moon Hyperion.
- Brahe, Tycho 1546-1601
- Danish astronomer. His accurate astronomical observations formed
the basis for Johannes Kepler's laws of
- Cassini, Giovanni Domenico 1625-1712
- (Aka Jean Dominique) Italian-born French astronomer. Cassini was the first
director of the Royal Observatory in Paris. He discovered four of
Saturn's moons (Tethys,
and Iapetus) and the major gap in its rings.
- Copernicus, Nicolaus 1473-1543
- Polish astronomer who advanced the
heliocentric theory that the earth
and other planets revolve around the Sun. This was highly controversial
at the time; the Ptolemaic view of the
universe, which was the prevailing theory for
more than 1000 years,
was deeply ingrained in the prevailing philosophy and religion.
- Einstein, Albert 1879-1955
- German-American physicist. Einstein developed the Special and General
Theories of Relativity, which along
with Quantum Mechanics, forms the foundation of modern physics.
- Franklin, Benjamin 1706-1790
- American public official, writer, and scientist.
Franklin played a major role
in the American Revolution and helped draft the Constitution.
His numerous scientific and practical innovations include the lightning
rod, bifocal spectacles, and a stove.
- Galle, Johann Gottfried 1812-1910
- German astronomer. Galle, along with Heinrich Louis d'Arrest, made
the first observation of Neptune based on
calculations by Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier.
Although Galle was the first to observe Neptune, its discovery is usually
credited to John Couch Adams (who made an earlier
calculation) and Le Verrier.
- Galileo Galilei 1564-1642
- Italian astronomer and physicist. The first to use a telescope to
study the stars. Discoverer of the first moons of an extraterrestrial
body (see Galilean Moons).
Galileo was an outspoken supporter of
heliocentric theory. In reaction
to Galileo, the Church declared it heresy to teach that the Earth moved
and imprisoned him. The Church clung to this position for 350 years
until Galileo was formally exonerated in 1992.
- George III 1738-1820
- King of Great Britain and Ireland (1760-1820). His
government's policies fed American colonial discontent,
leading to revolution in 1776.
- Hall, Asaph 1829-1907
- American astronomer. Hall discovered the two moons of
Deimos and Phobos.
- Halley, Edmund 1656-1742
- English astronomer. Halley applied Newton's
laws of motion to predict correctly
the period of the comet which now bears his name.
- Herschel, Sir William 1738-1822
- British astronomer. Herschel discovered Uranus
and cataloged more than 800 double stars and 2,500 nebulae.
- Huygens, Christiaan 1629-1695
- Dutch physicist and astronomer. Huygens first described the nature of
Saturn's rings (1655) and discovered
its moon Titan. He
also pioneered the use of the pendulum in clocks.
- Kepler, Johannes 1571-1630
- German astronomer and mathematician. Considered a founder of modern
astronomy, he formulated the famous three laws of planetary motion.
They comprise a quantitative formulation of
Copernicus's theory that the planets revolve
around the Sun.
- Kowal, Charles T. 1940-
- American astronomer. Kowal discovered
and comet-like object Chiron.
- Kuiper, Gerard, 1905-1973
- Dutch-born American astronomer. Kuiper is best known for his study of
the surface of the Moon. He discovered
and Nereid and
found an atmosphere on Titan.
- Lagrange, Joseph Louis 1736-1813
- French mathematician and astronomer. Lagrange made a number of
contributions to the study of celestial mechanics.
He showed that three bodies can lie at the apexes of an
equilateral triangle which rotates in its plane.
If one of the bodies is sufficiently massive compared with the other
two, then the triangular configuration is apparently stable.
Several examples are known in the solar system:
Such bodies are sometimes refered to as
The leading apex of the triangle is known as the leading Lagrange
point or L4; the trailing apex is the trailing Lagrange point or L5.
- Lassell, William 1799-1880
- British astronomer. Lassell discovered Neptune's
largest satellite, Triton and (with William Cranch
A successful brewer before turning to astronomy.
- Le Verrier, Urbain Jean Joseph 1811-1877
- French astronomer. La Verrier's prediction of the position of an undiscovered
planet (Neptune) that caused perturbations in
the orbit of Uranus was the first to be
confirmed (by Johann Gottfried Galle). However, John Couch Adams had made a similar prediction some months
- Lowell, Percival 1855-1916.
- American astronomer. He founded the Lowell Observatory in
Arizona (1894), where his studies of Mars
led him to believe that the planet was inhabited.
His successors later discovered Pluto.
- Marius, Simon 1573-1624
- (Aka Mayr) German astronomer. Marius gave
their names. He and Galileo both
claimed to have discovered them in 1610 and likely did so independently.
They became involved in a dispute over priority. Marius was also the
first to observe the Andromeda Nebula with a telescope and one of the
first to observe sunspots.
- Newton, Isaac 1642-1727
- English mathematician and physicist. Newton invented calculus, discovered
the classical laws of motion and gravity, built the first reflecting
telescope, and demonstrated the compound nature of white light, in the process laying
the foundations of spectroscopy.
- Nicholson, Seth Barnes 1891-1963
- American astronomer. Nicholson discovered
Sinope. He also did important work
- Oort, Jan Hendrik 1900-1992
- Dutch astronomer. Oort made major contributions to knowledge of
the structure and rotation of our galaxy. More or less as a
sideline, Oort studied comets
as well. The result of this work was a theory, now widely
accepted, that the Sun is surrounded by a distant cloud of
cometary material, now called the Oort Cloud, bits of which
are occasionally hurled into the Solar System as comets.
- Perrine, Charles Dillon 1867-1951
- Argentine-American astronomer. Perrine discovered
- Pickering, William Henry 1858-1938
- American astronomer. His photographs of Mars, among the
earliest obtained, provided a basis for his opposition to
Lowell's observations of supposed canals on Mars.
Discovered Saturn's moon Phoebe.
- Pope, Alexander 1688-1744
- English writer best remembered for his satirical mock-epic poems
The Rape of the Lock and The Dunciad.
- Ptolemy, 2nd century AD
- Alexandrian astronomer, mathematician, and geographer who based his
astronomy on the belief that all heavenly bodies revolve around the earth.
- Shakespeare, William 1564-1616
- English playwright and poet.
- Tombaugh, Clyde 1906-
- American astronomer. Tombaugh discovered Pluto.
- Van Allen, James A.
- American physicist. Van Allen discovered the
Earth's radiation belts, which now bear his
name, with an instrument aboard the first successful American satellite,
- Verne, Jules 1828-1905
- French writer. Verne is considered to be the founder of modern
science fiction. His novels include "Journey to the Center of the
Earth" and "From the Earth to the Moon".