Astronomy History

Historical Events

Historic Event

1560-08-21 Future Danish astronomer 14-year-old Tycho Brahe becomes interested in astronomy after observing a solar eclipse

Historic Event

1662-09-12 John Flamsteed sees partial solar eclipse, stirs his interest in astronomy

  • 1869-10-05 A strong hurricane known as the Saxby Gale devastates the Bay of Fundy region in Maritime Canada. Incredibly British naval officer Stephen Martin Saxby predicted the storm 10 months earlier in December 1868 via astronomy.
  • 1960-04-04 Project Ozma begins at Green Bank radio astronomy center
  • 1962-03-07 Launch of OSO 1, 1st astronomy satellite (solar flare data)
  • 1962-10-01 US National Radio Astronomy Observatory installs a 300' (91m) radio telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia
  • 1968-07-04 Radio astronomy satellite Explorer 38 launched
  • 1970-12-12 Small Astronomy Satellite Explorer 42 launched to study X-rays
  • 1972-08-21 US orbiting astronomy observatory Copernicus launched
  • 1972-11-15 Small Astronomy Satellite Explorer 48 launched to study gamma rays
  • 1973-06-10 NASA launches Radio Astronomy Explorer 49 into lunar orbit
  • 1975-05-07 Small Astronomy Satellite Explorer 53 launched to study X-rays
  • 1977-08-12 High Energy Astronomy Observatory {HEAO] 1 launched into Earth's orbit by NASA

Historic Publication

2018-07-26 Observation of a black hole by The Very Large Telescope in Chile proves Albert Einstein's prediction of "gravitational redshift", published in "Journal Astronomy & Astrophysics"

  • 2019-09-11 Water detected for first time on planet outside out solar system, on exoplanet K2-18b 110 light-years away, in findings published in "Nature Astronomy"

Famous Birthdays

  • 1423-05-30 Georg von Purbach, Austrian mathematician and astronomer (best known for his streamlined presentation of Ptolemaic astronomy in the Theoricae Novae Planetarum), born in Peuerbach, Austria (d. 1461)
  • 1736-09-15 Jean-Sylvain Bailly, French astronomer noted for his computation of an orbit for Halley’s Comet (1759) and author of History of Ancient Astronomy from Its Origin to the Establishment of the School of Alexandria, born in Paris (d. 1793)

Jean Baptiste Joseph DelambreJean Baptiste Joseph Delambre (1749-1822)

1749-09-19 French mathematician and astronomer (The History of Astronomy), born in Amiens, France

  • 1842-02-26 Camille Flammarion, French astronomer, Mars researcher and popularizer of astronomy, born in Montigny-le-Roi, Haute-Marne, France (d. 1925)
  • 1923-03-04 Patrick Moore, England, astronomer and writer (A-Z of Astronomy), (d. 2012)
  • 1923-12-15 Freeman Dyson, American physicist (known for his work in quantum electrodynamics, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering), born in Crowthorne, Berkshire, England (d. 2020)
  • 1925-05-16 Nancy Roman, American, NASA's first chief of astronomy 'Mother of the Hubble', born in Nashville, Tennessee (d. 2018)
  • 1928-04-20 Gerald S. Hawkins, English-American astronomer (archaeoastronomy), born in Great Yarmouth, England (d. 2003)
  • 1931-10-06 Riccardo Giacconi, Italian American astrophysicist, Nobel Prize for Physics 2002 for X-ray astronomy, born in Genoa, Italy (d. 2018)
  • 1939-03-08 George William Reed, astronomy writer/cartoonist (Dark Sky Legacy)

Famous Deaths

  • 1461-04-08 Georg von Purbach, Austrian mathematician and astronomer (best known for his streamlined presentation of Ptolemaic astronomy in the Theoricae Novae Planetarum), dies at 37
  • 1748-05-12 Thomas Lowndes, English astronomer, founder of the Lowndean professorship of astronomy at Cambridge University (b. 1692)
  • 1793-11-12 Jean-Sylvain Bailly, French Statesman, astronomer (computed orbit for Halley’s Comet (1759), and author, guillotined during the Reign of Terror at 57
  • 1925-06-07 Camille Flammarion, French astronomer, Mars researcher and popularizer of astronomy, dies at 83
  • 2003-05-26 Gerald S. Hawkins, English-American astronomer (archaeoastronomy), dies at 75
  • 2018-12-09 Riccardo Giacconi, Italian American astrophysicist, Nobel Prize for Physics 2002 for X-ray astronomy, dies at 87
  • 2018-12-25 Nancy Roman, American, NASA's first chief of astronomy 'Mother of the Hubble', dies at 93
  • 2020-02-28 Freeman Dyson, American physicist (known for his work in quantum electrodynamics, solid-state physics, astronomy and nuclear engineering), dies at 96