Nebulae, galaxies, planets, black holes, stars … Space continues to fascinate humanity with its amazing beauty for thousands of years. However, mankind has been making extensive efforts to unravel the mysteries of space for thousands of years. However, even today, what we know about space is very inadequate compared to what we don’t know. However, we owe a huge thank you to some of the scientists who have taken an interest in astronomy throughout history! Because with the small amount of information we can learn about space as humanity, there are intense efforts from these scientists! Here are 13 great scientists who shaped the history of astronomy from ancient times to modern times…
The Greek scientist Ptolemy, who is believed to have lived between 100 and 170 BC, was also interested in mathematics and geography in addition to studies of 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 we know it to be wrong today.
According to the famous astronomer’s model, the Earth was at the center of the universe. The sun, stars, planets and all other celestial bodies were moving around the earth in a circular orbit at a constant speed. Of course, Ptolemy’s model of the universe contained serious errors. But it took nearly a thousand years for this model to be proven wrong! Ptolemy was one of the most important astronomers of antiquity.
2. Nicolaus Copernicus
Born in Poland in 1473, Nicolaus Copernicus pioneered some of the work that would radically change 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 was a guide 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 the scientist who discovered the rings of Saturn and the four largest moons of Jupiter. Also, Galileo noticed craters on the Moon for the first time. However, Galileo was a scientist who advocated a heliocentric universe theory instead of a geocentric universe theory thousands of years ago, at the cost of imprisonment.
4. Johannes Kepler
The German scientist, born in 1571, managed to write his name in history with his work in the field of astronomy. He was the first to put forward some laws about space that are known to many people today. For example, he first explained how the moon affects the tides. On the other hand, Kepler developed three different laws that explain the motions of the planets in the solar system and they are still in use today.
5. Christian Higgins
Born in the Netherlands on April 14, 1624, the scientist became one of the most important names of the scientific revolution with his pioneering studies in astronomy, optics, and mechanics. For example, he made a significant contribution to the field of astronomy by discovering the largest of Saturn’s moons, Titan. Moreover, he designed the 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 with his studies 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” (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) dated 1678. The famous “Law of Gravitation” and the laws of motion named after him are also included in this work.
7. Edmond Haley
British astronomer Edmund Halley, born in 1656, made very important studies in the observatory he built in the South Atlantic Ocean. His use of Newton’s laws of motion to calculate when Halley’s Comet would reappear made him one of the key figures in the history of astronomy. Edmund Halley died in 1742. The comet, which was calculating the time of its return, showed itself in 1758, exactly on the date calculated by Edmund Halley. So Edmund Halley could not see the comet. But you know, the star was named Haley.
8. William Herschel
Born in Germany in 1738, the scientist spent most of his life observing the sky. At the end of the 18th century, Herschel published two different catalogs containing more than 7,500 celestial bodies as a result of his observations using the telescope he had developed. 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 studies in astronomy, as well as her contributions to women’s struggle for existence in the academic field. Because she signed many important works at a time when the presence of women in the field of science was very exceptional.
Cannon was also the creator of a still-used method for classifying stars according to their temperature and light values. However, Annie Jump Cannon has rated over 350,000 stars in her lifetime.
10. Henrietta Swan Levitt
The American astronomer Henrietta Swan Levitt was one of the most important scientists who shaped the history of astronomy. During his work in astronomy, Levitt discovered that there was a linear relationship between the brightness of pulsars and the number of times they pulsated. In this way, he pioneered many methods that could be used to measure the distance of stars.
German physicist Albert Einstein is one of the most important scientists in history. Especially when it comes to space. Because Einstein’s work in this field forms the basis of modern astronomy. The “theory of relativity” developed by Einstein is used to understand the nature of black holes, neutron stars, gravitational waves, and many other astronomical structures. In addition, the idea that the universe is expanding, sometimes moving faster than the speed of light, which has changed the way humanity deals with the universe, was also first put forward by Einstein.
12. Edwin Hubble
Edwin Hubble is one of the scientists who changed our approach to the universe, just like Albert Einstein. Because before Hubble, it was believed that only the Milky Way existed in the universe. But Hubble discovered the Andromeda and Triangle galaxies! However, he developed a system of classifying galaxies that is still valid today, and for the first time divided galaxies into three main categories: 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 working after Albert Einstein. The scientist, who shaped the history of astronomy with his studies of the beginning of the universe and black holes, was the first person to say that black holes should theoretically emit radiation. The radiation emitted from black holes today is called Hawking radiation.
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