Astronomy is generally thought to have begun in ancientBabylon by zoroastrian priests (the magi). Recent studies of Babylonian records have shown them to be extremely accurate for the ancient night sky. Following the Babylonians, the egyptians also had an emphasis on observations of the sky.
Mixtures of religious interpretations of the sky, as mythic tales of the gods, led to a duality that we now identify as astrology. It is important to recognize that before about 1750, there was no distinction between astronomy and astrology.
Unlike most scientists, astronomers cannot directly interact with the celestial bodies, and so instead must resort to detailed observation in order to make discoveries. Generally, astronomers use telescopes or other imaging equipment to make such observations.
Published Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (1687), containing the "Newton's laws of motion", which are fundamental to mechanical physics, and which explained Kepler's laws of planetary motion. Predicted the orbits of the planets.
Extensive work on the internal mechanisms of stars, particularly known for determining the effect of special relativity on stars, including being the first to calculate the Chandrasekhar limit, which he did, without a calculator, on a boat journey.
There is also a well-known painting by Johannes Vermeer titled The Astronomer, which is often linked to Vermeer's The Geographer. These paintings are both thought to represent the growing influence and rise in prominence of scientific enquiry in Europe at the time of their painting, 1668_69.
Categories: Astronomers | Life, physical, and social science occupations | Science occupations
D'ARREST, H.L. Heinrich Louis d'Arrest (1822-1875) was a Danish astronomer and the co-discoverer of Neptune (in 1846), with Galle.
Sir William Herschel (1738-1822) was a British astronomer and organist who built an improved reflecting telescope and used it to discover the planet Uranus (March 13, 1781) and moons of Uranus and of Saturn.
Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835-1910) was an Italian astronomer (and director of the Milan Observatory) who first mapped Mars (in 1877) and brought attention to the network of "canali" (Italian for canals or channels) on Mars.
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