Famous Astronomers: Sir Isaac Newton & More

Throughout history, the likes of Christiaan Huygens and Sir Isaac Newton have made stunning contributions to astronomy and science. In this article, you will also learn about the man who pushed the envelope in studying extraterrestrial intelligence.

Christiaan Huygens (1629 , 1695): This Dutchman became the first person to uncover the first satellite of Saturn (Titan), as well as commented on the true shape of Saturn’s rings. As a mathematician, physicist, and astronomer, Huygens is often associated throughout history as playing an important role in the scientific revolution. Before he turned to a life filled with science, Huygens studied law and mathematics at the University of Leiden and the College of Orange in Breda.

Sir Isaac Newton (1643 , 1727): This man has become quite the recognizable figure in science and history. He is known for his theories pertaining to gravity and mechanics. You may also thank this Englishman in the math department, as he also developed differential calculus.

Carl Sagan (1934 , 1996): As a leader in the quest for extraterrestrial intelligence, Sagan (an astronomer and astrochemist) wrote many books, including “Mars and the Mind of Man,” “Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective,” and “Planets.” He also became well known for his contribution to the majority of space missions that were sent up to explore Mars and the outer planets. He also warned the world that an all-out nuclear war could turn into what he called “a nuclear winter.” Sagan also wrote the novel titled “Contact” that became a movie in 1997 starring Jodie Foster.

William K. Hartmann (1939 – ): If you are interested in art that deals with an astronomical theme, then you may have come across the work of Hartmann, who has gained a reputation as a respected painter related to the subject. Hartmann also co-developed one of the most widely accepted theories associated with the formation of the Moon, which states that a collision with Earth that took place at the close of the formation period of the Solar System is the reasoning behind its existence. This noted planetary scientist and author have developed a shining career that spans more than 40 years. He also played a role on the Mars mapping project that involved the Mariner 9.

Johann Franz Encke (1791 , 1865): This German astronomer is known for discovering the first short-period comet, which is now referred to as “Encke’s comet.”

Wilhelm Beer (1797 , 1850): This German astronomer and banker prepared and published maps that depicted the Moon and Mars. All of the fame that he gained in science came as a result from his hobby of astronomy, where he built a private observatory using a 9 ½ centimeter refractor in Tiergarten, Berlin. For many years, Beer created the best descriptions of the Moon. In 1830, Beer and another (Madler) also constructed the first globe of the planet, Mars. In 1840, they created a map of Mars and added calculation regarding its rotation period , 24 hours, 37 minutes, and 22.7 seconds. Today, these calculations are only 0.1 seconds off from the actual period.