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A List of Influential Astronomers II
Posted In: Space and Astrology  9/16/11
By: Yona Williams

From discovering the rings of Saturn to establishing observatories, the astronomers in this article have shed light on the significant players in the Solar System. You will encounter some of the accomplishments of astronomers, such as Christiaan Huygens  and Charles Messier.

Christiaan Huygens (1629 – 1695)

Well known in the Dutch science community, Christiaan Huygens discovered the rings of Saturn and the moon Titan, as well as established the wave theory of light. His early work concentrated on the telescope and then moved on to other realms of discovery. Huygens also worked as a mathematician, physicist, and horologist, which focuses on the study of the art or science of measuring time. He is responsible for inventing the pendulum clock and spent time researching centrifugal force and optics.

John Couch Adams (1819 – 1892)

Hailing from the United Kingdom, John Couch Adams spent his time studying the Leonid meteor shower and made a prediction about the existence of Neptune, which was later discovered in 1846. The British mathematician and astronomer also made calculation regarding the orbit of Uranus and analyzed holes in the laws of Kepler and Newton.

Percival Lowell (1855 – 1916)

Lowell was an astronomer from the United States that founded the Lowell Observatory in Arizona. Some of his contributions to the field included a prediction that a planet would be discovered in the region where Pluto was found. Lowell had a great interest in studying Mars. He believed that the planet was home to canals, as mentioned by an Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaperelli. In 1894, Lowell selected Flagstaff, Arizona as the future home for his new observatory. He believed the high altitude, few cloudy nights, and distance from the lights of the city offered ideal conditions for an observatory. After spending more than 15 years studying Mars, Lowell produced three books on the subject between 1895 and 1908.

Charles Messier (1730 – 1817)

This French astronomer spent a great deal of his career studying comets and was ultimately responsible for the discovery of 13 comets. While he made a lot of strides in the field (such as his observations regarding eclipses), he is best known for his catalogue of stars that was first published in 1774. The first version of his catalogue contained 45 objects when it was revealed in the journal of the French Academy of Sciences. The final version was released in 1781 and offered a list of 103 objects. In his honor, there is a crater on the Moon and an asteroid named after him.

Edward Emerson Barnard (1857 -1923)

This astronomer from the United States discovered Barnard's Star and a moon on Jupiter named Amalthea. In 1895, he joined the University of Chicago and taught astronomy as a professor. There, he had access to the telescope at Yerkes Observatory. The majority of his work during this period consisted of taking photos of the Milky Way. Barnard also discovered a lot of comets between 1881 and 1892 – 14 in all, as well as the co-discovery of two other comets.


 

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