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Humans have gazed at the night sky for thousands of years, and found it pretty interesting. They learned that you could navigate using the celestial map and, over time, also learned that certain events could be predicted. These learned people were quite prized by their brethren, and their endeavors helped advance our understanding of the world.
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Cross-listed in WritersInventorsScientists

Taqi al-Din Muhammad ibn Ma'ruf

borndied
15261585
a Muslim polymath active in the Ottoman Empire. He was the author of more than ninety books on a wide variety of subjects, including astronomy, clocks, engineering, mathematics, mechanics, optics and natural philosophy. In 1574 the Ottoman Sultan Murad III invited Taqi ad-Din to build the Istanbul observatory. Using his exceptional knowledge in the mechanica...
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Cross-listed in Writers

Simon Marius

borndied
1573, Jan 201625, Jan 5
a German astronomer. He was born in Gunzenhausen, near Nuremberg, but he spent most of his life in the city of Ansbach. In 1614 Marius published his work Mundus Iovialis describing the planet Jupiter and its moons. Here he claimed to have discovered the planet's four major moons some days before more
Timeline (2)Links (1)


Albert Marth

borndied
1828, May 51897, Aug 6
a German astronomer who worked in England and Ireland. He went to England in 1853 to work for George Bishop, a rich wine merchant and patron of astronomy. At that time, paid jobs in astronomy were quite rare. He worked as William Lassell's assistant in Malta, discovering 600 nebulae. He also discovered one of the earlier asteroids found, 29 Amphitrite.
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Nevil Maskelyne

borndied
1732, Oct 61811, Feb 9
he fifth British Astronomer Royal. He held the office from 1765 to 1811. In 1760 the Royal Society appointed Maskelyne as an astronomer on one of their expeditions to observe the 1761 transit of Venus. In 1763 the Board of Longitude sent Maskelyne to Barbados in order to carry out an official trial of three contenders for a Longitude reward.
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Charles Mason

borndied
1728, Apr1786, Oct 25
an English astronomer who made significant contributions to 18th-century science and American history, particularly through his involvement with the survey of the Mason-Dixon line, which came to mark the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania (1764–1768). The border between Delaware and Maryland is also defined by a part of the Mason-Dixon line.
Timeline (1)Links (1)


Pierre Louis Maupertuis

borndied
16981759, Jul 27
a French mathematician, philosopher and man of letters, also interested in physics, biology, metaphysic, moral philosophy, astronomy, and geography. He became the Director of the Académie des Sciences, and the first President of the Prussian Academy of Science, at the invitation of Frederick the Great.
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Cross-listed in NavalEducators

Matthew Fontaine Maury

borndied
1806, Jan 141873, Feb 1
an American astronomer, historian, oceanographer, meteorologist, cartographer, author, geologist, and educator. n 1825 at age 19, Maury obtained a midshipman's warrant in the United States Navy. When a leg injury left him unfit for sea duty, Maury devoted his time to the study of navigation, meteorology, winds, and currents. He became Superintendent of the U...
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Tobias Mayer

borndied
1723, Feb 171762, Feb 20
a German astronomer famous for his studies of the Moon. His first important astronomical work was a careful investigation of the libration of the moon, and his chart of the full moon (published in 1775) was unsurpassed for half a century. But his fame rests chiefly on his lunar tables, communicated in 1752, with new solar tables, and published in the transac...
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Pierre Mechain

aka: Méchain
borndied
1744, Aug 161804, Sep 20
a French astronomer and surveyor who, with Charles Messier, was a major contributor to the early study of deep sky objects and comets. He participated in the Anglo-French Survey (1784–1790) to measure by trigonometry the precise distance between the Paris Observatory and the Royal Greenwich Observatory.
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Charles Messier

bornactivedied
1730, Jun 261744-17851817, Apr 12
a French astronomer most notable for publishing an astronomical catalogue consisting of nebulae and star clusters that came to be known as the 110 "Messier objects". The purpose of the catalogue was to help astronomical observers, in particular comet hunters such as himself, distinguish between permanent and transient visually diffuse objects in the sky.
Timeline (10)Links (23)


Cross-listed in Clergy

John Michell

borndied
1724, Dec 251793, Apr 29
an English clergyman and natural philosopher who provided pioneering insights in a wide range of scientific fields, including astronomy, geology, optics, and gravitation. Considered "one of the greatest unsung scientists of all time", he was the first person known to propose the existence of black holes in publication, the first to suggest that earthquakes t...
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Cross-listed in Educators

Maria Mitchell

bornactivedied
1818, Aug 11835-18881889, Jun 28
an American astronomer who, in 1847, by using a telescope, discovered a comet which as a result became known as "Miss Mitchell's Comet". She won a gold medal prize for her discovery which was presented to her by King Frederick VI of Denmark - this was remarkable for a woman.
Timeline (1)Links (25)


Cross-listed in AstronomersScientistsEducators

August Ferdinand Mobius

aka: Möbius
bornactivedied
1790, Nov 171816-18581868, Sep 26
a German mathematician and theoretical astronomer. He is best known for his discovery of the Möbius strip, a non-orientable two-dimensional surface with only one side when embedded in three-dimensional Euclidean space. Many mathematical concepts are named after him, including the Möbius plane, the Möbius transformations, important in projective geometry, ...
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Johan Maurits Mohr

borndied
1716, Aug 1775, Oct 25
a Dutch-German pastor who studied at Groningen University from 1733 and settled in Batavia (Dutch East Indies) in 1737. Mohr's greatest passion was in astronomy but he was also keenly interested in meteorology and in vulcanology.
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Samuel Molyneux

borndied
1689, Jul 161728, Apr 13
an 18th-century member of the British parliament from Kew and an amateur astronomer whose work with James Bradley attempting to measure stellar parallax led to the discovery of the aberration of light. The aberration was the first definite evidence that the earth moved and that more
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Geminiano Montanari

borndied
1633, Jun 11687, Oct 13
an Italian astronomer, lens-maker, and proponent of the experimental approach to science. He is best known for his observation, made around 1667, that the second brightest star (called Algol as derived from its name in Arabic) in the constellation of Perseus varied in brightness. It is likely that others had observed this effect before, but Montanari was the...
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Cross-listed in ExplorersNaval

Ernest Mouchez

bornactivedied
1821, Aug 241843-18871892, Jun 29
a French naval officer who became director of the Paris Observatory and launched the ill-fated Carte du Ciel project in 1887. Born in Madrid, Spain, Mouchez embarked on a career in the French Navy as an ensign in 1843. This was a period of relative international maritime peace and much of the navy's activities were dedicated to exploration and discovery. Mou...
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