13 Great Scientists Who Changed the History of Astronomy
Nebulae, galaxies, planets, black holes, stars… The cosmos continues to fascinate humanity with its incredible beauty for thousands of years. However, mankind has been making strenuous efforts to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos for thousands of years. However, even today, what we know about the cosmos is grossly inadequate compared to what we do not know. However, we must thank some scientists who have been interested in astronomy throughout history! Because with little information we can learn about the cosmos as humanity, there is the hard work of these scientists! Here are 13 great scientists who have shaped the history of astronomy from ancient times to the present day…
The Greek scholar Ptolemy, believed to have lived between 100 and 170 BC, was also interested in mathematics and geography, as well as astronomy. But the most important work of the famous astronomer was undoubtedly in the field of astronomy. Ptolemy was one of the first scientists in history to develop a model of the universe, although today we know that it is wrong.
According to the model of the famous astronomer, the Earth was at the center of the universe. Also, the Sun, stars, planets and all other celestial bodies moved around the Earth in a circular orbit at a constant speed. Of course, Ptolemy’s model of the universe contained big errors. But it took almost a thousand years for this model to be wrong! Ptolemy was one of the most prominent astronomers of antiquity.
2. Nicolaus Copernicus
Born in Poland in 1473, Nicolaus Copernicus pioneered work that radically changed the history of astronomy. The first scientist to deny that all celestial bodies revolve around the Earth was none other than Copernicus. The heliocentric model of the universe developed by Copernicus became a reference point for many scientists after him.
3. Galileo Galilei
The Italian scientist is undoubtedly one of the most important names in the history of astronomy. Galileo was a scientist who discovered the rings of Saturn and the four largest moons of Jupiter. Galileo also observed craters on the lunar surface for the first time. However, Galileo was a scientist who, at the cost of imprisonment, defended the theory of a heliocentric universe instead of a thousand-year-old theory of an Earth-centered universe.
4. Johannes Kepler
The German scientist, born in 1571, managed to write his name into history with his work in the field of astronomy. He was the first to put forward some of the laws about space that are known to many today. For example, he first explained how the moon affects the tides. On the other hand, Kepler also developed three different laws that explain the motion of the planets in the solar system and are still used today.
5. Christian Huygens
Born in the Netherlands on April 14, 1624, the scientist became one of the most important names in the scientific revolution through his pioneering research in astronomy, optics and mechanics. For example, he made a major contribution to the field of astronomy by discovering Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. Moreover, he designed a telescope that allowed him to make this important discovery.
6. Isaac Newton
British scientist Isaac Newton is one of the most important names in the history of science due to his research not only in astronomy but also in physics, mathematics, optics and philosophy. So much so that he laid the foundations of classical physical mechanics with his work “Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica” (“The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”), dated 1678. This work also included the famous “Law of Universal Gravitation” and the laws of motion named after him.
7. Edmond Halley
British astronomer Edmond Halley, born in 1656, carried out very important research in the observatory he built in the south Atlantic Ocean. His use of Newton’s laws of motion to calculate the timing of Halley’s comet made him one of the key figures in the history of astronomy. Edmond Halley died in 1742. The comet he had calculated for when it would return appeared in 1758, exactly on the date Edmund Halley had calculated. So, Edmond Halley couldn’t see the comet. But, as you know, the star was given the name “Gally”.
8. William Herschel
The scientist was born in Germany in 1738 and spent most of his life observing the sky. In the late 18th century, Herschel published two different catalogs containing over 7,500 celestial bodies as a result of observations with a telescope he had designed. But Herschel’s most important discovery in the sky was Uranus!
9. Annie Jump Cannon
American scientist Annie Jump Cannon is known for her valuable research in the field of astronomy, as well as her contribution to the struggle of women for existence in the academic field. Because she signed many important papers at a time when the presence of women in the field of science was considered quite extraordinary.
Cannon also originated the method still used today to classify stars according to their temperature and brightness. However, Annie Jump Cannon classified over 350,000 stars in her lifetime.
10. Henrietta Swan Leavitt
The American astronomer Henrietta Swan Leavitt was one of the most important scientists to shape the history of astronomy. During his work in the field of astronomy, Leavitt discovered that there was a linear relationship between the brightness of pulsating stars and the frequency of their pulsations. Thus, he pioneered many methods that can be used to measure the distance to stars.
The German physicist Albert Einstein is one of the most prominent scientists in history. Especially when it comes to space. Because Einstein’s work in this area forms the basis of modern astronomy. Einstein’s “Theory of Relativity” is used to understand the nature of black holes, neutron stars, gravitational waves, and many other astrological structures. In addition, Einstein pioneered the idea that the universe is expanding, sometimes moving faster than the speed of light, which changed the way humans deal with the universe.
12. Edwin Hubble
Edwin Hubble is one of the scientists who changed our view of the universe, as was Albert Einstein. Because before Hubble, it was believed that only the Milky Way galaxy existed in the Universe. But Hubble discovered the Andromeda and Triangulum galaxies! However, he developed a classification system for galaxies that is still relevant today, and for the first time divided galaxies into three main classes: lenticular, elliptical, and spiral.
13. Stephen Hawking
British physicist and astronomer Stephen Hawking, who died in 2018, is considered one of the most important scientists to have worked since Albert Einstein. The scientist who shaped the history of astronomy with his research on the origin of the universe and black holes was the first to say that, in theory, black holes should emit radiation. The radiation emitted by black holes is today called Hawking radiation.
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