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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 Governance

Jean Sylvain Bailly

bornactivedied
1736, Sep 151759-17871793, Nov 12
a French astronomer, mathematician, freemason, and political leader of the early part of the French Revolution. He presided over the Tennis Court Oath, served as the mayor of Paris from 1789 to 1791, and was ultimately guillotined during the Reign of Terror.
Links (1)


Francis Baily

bornactivedied
1774, Apr 281799-18431844, Aug 30
an English astronomer. He is most famous for his observations of 'Baily's beads' during an eclipse of the Sun. Bailey was also a major figure in the early history of the Royal Astronomical Society, as one of the founders and president four times.
Timeline (1)Links (1)


John Bainbridge

bornactivedied
15821618-16351643, Nov 3
an English astronomer and mathematician. He wrote An Astronomical Description of the late Comet (1619); Canicularia (1648); and translated Proclus' De Sphaera, and Ptolemy's De Planetarum Hypothesibus (1620).
Links (1)


Manuel Bal

bornactivedied
unknown1770sunknown
natural scholar of San Bernardo de Yagüe and neighbor in Campillo, both of this Bishopric of Osma. Carved a statue of Christ and five other statues for the main altar of the church of Sotillo de la Ribera - Santa Águeda and the saints Santiago, Millán, Jerónimo, and Juan. His Christ sculpture was hollow and contained a 'time capsule' placed by Joaquín ...
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Cross-listed in Writers

Benjamin Banneker

bornactivedied
1731, Nov 91753-17971806, Oct 9
a free African American almanac author, surveyor, naturalist and farmer. His knowledge of astronomy helped him author a commercially successful series of almanacs. He corresponded with Thomas Jefferson, drafter of the United States Declaration of Independence...
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Timeline (2)Links (1)


Cross-listed in ScientistsCartographersLegal

Johann Bayer

bornactivedied
15721612-16251625, Mar 7
a German lawyer and uranographer (celestial cartographer). He is primarily known for his work in astronomy; particularly for his work on determining the positions of objects on the celestial sphere.
Links (1)


Wilhelm Beer

bornactivedied
1797, Jan 41830-18491850, Mar 27
a banker and astronomer from Berlin, Prussia, and the half-brother of Giacomo Meyerbeer. In 1830, Beer and Mädler created the first globe of the planet Mars. In 1840 they made a map of Mars and calculated its rotation period to be 24 h 37 min 22.7 s, only 0.1 seconds different from the actual period as it is known today.
Links (1)


Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel

bornactivedied
1784, Jul 221804-18421846, Mar 17
a German astronomer, mathematician, physicist and geodesist. He was the first astronomer who determined reliable values for the distance from the sun to another star by the method of parallax. A special type of mathematical functions were named Bessel functions after Bessel's death, though they had originally been discovered by more
Links (1)


Cross-listed in MilitaryWriters

Wilhelm Freiherr von Biela

bornactivedied
1782, Mar 191802-1840s1856, Feb 18
a German-Austrian military officer and amateur astronomer. In the field of astronomy, he specialized in observing and calculating the orbits of comets. He also did some sunspot observations and published a series of articles, mostly in the Astronomische Nachrichten, on subjects such as comets, the theoretical considerations of comets "falling into the Sun," ...
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Timeline (1)Links (1)


Cross-listed in Cartographers

Willem Blaeu

aka: Willem Janszoon Blaeu
borndied
15711638, Oct 21
a Dutch cartographer, atlas maker and publisher. He was one of the notable representatives of the Netherlandish/Dutch school of cartography in its golden age (the 16th and 17th centuries). Between 1594 and 1596, as a student of the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, h...
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Cross-listed in Clergy

Nathaniel Bliss

bornactivedied
1700, Nov 281742-17621764, Sep 2
an English astronomer of the 18th century, serving as Britain's fourth Astronomer Royal between 1762 and 1764. In 1736, Bliss became rector of St Ebbe's Church in Oxford. Supported by, among others; the 2nd Earl of Macclesfield (George Parker), Savilian Professor of Astronomy James Bradley and by William Jones, Bliss succeeded more
Links (1)


Johann Elert Bode

bornactivedied
1747, Jan 191766-18251826, Nov 23
a German astronomer known for his reformulation and popularization of the Titius–Bode law. Bode determined the orbit of Uranus and suggested the planet's name.
Links (1)


George Phillips Bond

borndied
1825, May 201865, Feb 17
an American astronomer. He was the son of William Cranch Bond. Some sources give his year of birth as 1826. His early interest was in nature and birds, but after his elder brother William Cranch Bond Jr. died, he felt obliged to follow his father into the field of astronomy. Bond took the first photograph of a star in 1850 (Vega) and of a double star in 1857...
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Timeline (1)Links (1)


William Cranch Bond

bornactivedied
1789, Sep 91806-18501859, Jan 29
an American astronomer, and the first director of Harvard College Observatory. When he built his first house, Bond made its parlor an observatory, complete with an opening in the ceiling out of which his telescope could view the sky.
Timeline (2)Links (1)


Cross-listed in Writers

Rudjer Boscovich

aka: Roger
bornactivedied
1711, May 181740-17861787, Feb 13
a Ragusan physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, diplomat, poet, theologian, Jesuit priest, and a polymath from the city of Dubrovnik in the Republic of Ragusa (modern-day Croatia), who studied and lived in Italy and France where he also published many of his works.
Links (1)


Alexis Bouvard

bornactivedied
1767, Jun 271793-18431843, Jun 7
a French astronomer. He is particularly noted for his careful observations of the irregularities in the motion of Uranus and his hypothesis of the existence of an eighth planet in the solar system.
Links (1)


James Bradley

bornactivedied
1693, Mar1714-17621762, Jul 13
an English astronomer and served as Astronomer Royal from 1742, succeeding Edmond Halley. He is best known for two fundamental discoveries in astronomy, the aberration of light (1725–1728), and the nutation of the Earth's axis (1728–1748).
Timeline (1)Links (1)


Tycho Brahe

bornactivedied
1546, Dec 141560-16011601, Oct24
a Danish nobleman known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations. He was born in Scania, then part of Denmark, now part of modern-day Sweden. Tycho was well known in his lifetime as an astronomer, astrologer and alchemist.
Timeline (7)Links (1)


Cross-listed in WritersInventorsScientists

David Brewster

borndied
1781, Dec 111868, Feb 10
a Scottish physicist, mathematician, astronomer, inventor, writer, historian of science and university principal. Most noted for his contributions to the field of optics, he studied the double refraction by compression and discovered the photoelastic effect, which gave birth to the field of optical mineralogy. For his work, William Whewell dubbed him the "Fa...
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Links (1)


Cross-listed in ScientistsEducators

Henry Briggs

borndied
1561, Feb1630, Jan 26
an English mathematician notable for changing the original logarithms invented by John Napier into common (base 10) logarithms, which are sometimes known as Briggsian logarithms in his honour. Briggs was a committed puritan and an influential professor in his time. In 1596, he became first professor of Geometry in the recently founded Gresham College, London...
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Links (1)


Cross-listed in Governance

Thomas Brisbane

borndied
1773, Jul 231860, Jan 27
a British Army officer, administrator, and astronomer. Upon the recommendation of the Duke of Wellington, with whom he had served, he was appointed governor of New South Wales from 1821 to 1825. A keen astronomer, he built the colony's second observatory and encouraged scientific and agricultural training. Rivals besmirched his reputation and the British Sec...
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Links (1)


Theodor Brorsen

bornactivedied
1819, Jul 291844-18701895, Mar 31
a Danish astronomer. He is best known for his discovery of five comets, including the lost periodic comet, 5D/Brorsen, and the periodic comet 23P/Brorsen-Metcalf.
Timeline (1)Links (1)


Cross-listed in Writers

Ismael Bullialdus

aka: Boulliau
bornactivedied
1605, Sep 281632-16671694, Nov 25
a famous astronomer and mathematician during the seventeenth century. He published several books, and was an active member of the Republic of Letters, a scholarly exchange of ideas during the 17th and 18th centuries. He is most well known for his work in astronomy, and his most famous work is his book titled Astronomia Philolaica.
Links (1)

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