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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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Johann Palitzsch

borndied
1723, Jun 111788, Feb 21
a German astronomer who became famous for recovering Comet 1P/Halley (better known as Halley's Comet or Comet Halley) on Christmas Day, 1758. The periodic nature of this comet had been deduced by its namesake Edmond Halley in 1705, but Halley had died before seeing if his prediction would come true.
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George Parker

aka: 2nd Earl of Macclesfield, Viscount Parker
borndied
1697 ca1764, Mar 17
an English peer and astronomer. In 1722 he became a fellow of the Royal Society, and he spent most of his time in astronomical observations at his Oxfordshire seat, Shirburn Castle, which had been bought by his father in 1716; here he built an observatory and a chemical laboratory.
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William Parsons

aka: 3rd Earl of Rosse
borndied
1800, Jun 171867, Oct 31
an Anglo-Irish astronomer who had several telescopes built. His 72-inch telescope, built in 1845 and colloquially known of as the "Leviathan of Parsonstown", was the world's largest telescope, in terms of aperture size, until the early 20th century. Lord Rosse performed astronomical studies and discovered the spiral nature of some nebulas, today known to be ...
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Peter Pelham [2]

borndied
1721, Dec 91805, Apr 28
an English-born American organist, harpsichordist, teacher and composer. Pelham was born in London. His father, also named Peter Pelham, was an engraver and an artist. Around 1730 the Pelhams immigrated to Boston. In 1744 Pelham became first organist of Trinity Church in Boston. Although several collections he compiled of music by other composers are extant,...
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Cross-listed in Writers

Christian August Friedrich Peters

borndied
1806, Sep 71880, May 8
a German astronomer. He was the father of astronomer Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Peters. He was born in Hamburg and died in Kiel. Peters was the son of a merchant and, although he did not attend secondary school regularly, he obtained a good knowledge of mathematics and astronomy. In 1826 he became assistant to Heinrich Christian Schumacher at Altona Observatory ...
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Christian Heinrich Friedrich Peters

borndied
1813, Sep 191890, Jul 18
a German–American astronomer, and a pioneer in the study of asteroids. He was born in Koldenbüttel in Schleswig, then part of Denmark but later part of Germany, and later studied under Carl Friedrich Gauss. Peters spoke many languages and gravitated to Italy at the time of the Italian unification. His association with radical groups brought him to the att...
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Cross-listed in Clergy

Giuseppe Piazzi

borndied
1746, Jul 161826, Jul 22
an Italian Catholic priest of the Theatine order, mathematician, and astronomer. He was born in Ponte in Valtellina, and died in Naples. He established an observatory at Palermo, now the Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo – Giuseppe S. Vaiana. Perhaps his most famous discovery was the first dwarf planet, Ceres.
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Giovanni Antonio Amedeo Plana

borndied
1781, Nov 61864, Jan 20
an Italian astronomer and mathematician. Plana's contributions included work on the motions of the Moon, as well as integrals, (including the Abel–Plana formula), elliptic functions, heat, electrostatics, and geodesy.
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Cross-listed in ClergyCartographers

Petrus Plancius

borndied
15521622, May 15
a Flemish astronomer, cartographer and clergyman. In 1589 he collaborated with the Amsterdam cartographer Jacob Floris van Langren on a 32.5-cm celestial globe, which, using the sparse information available about southern celestial features, for the first time depicted: Crux the southern cross, Triangulum Australe the southern triangle, and the Magellanic Cl...
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Norman Robert Pogson

borndied
1829, Mar 231891, Jun 23
an English astronomer who worked in India at the Madras observatory. He discovered several minor planets, made observations on comets and deduced a mathematical scale of stellar magnitudes with the ratio of two successive magnitudes being the fifth root of one hundred (~2.512) and referred to as Pogson's ratio.
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John Pond

borndied
17671836, Sep 7
a renowned English astronomer who became the sixth Astronomer Royal, serving from 1811 to 1835. In 1800 Pond settled at Westbury near Bristol, and began to determine star-places with a fine altitude and azimuth circle of 2 1?2 feet (760 mm) in diameter by Edward Troughton. His demonstration in 1806 of a change of form in the Greenwich mural quadrant led to t...
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Jean-Louis Pons

borndied
1761, Dec 241831, Oct 14
a French astronomer. Despite humble beginnings and being self-taught, he went on to become the greatest visual comet discoverer of all time: between 1801 and 1827 Pons discovered thirty-seven comets, more than any other person in history.
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Cross-listed in ClergyWritersScientists

John Henry Pratt

borndied
1809, Jun 41871, Dec 28
a British clergyman, astronomer and mathematician. A Cambridge Apostle, he joined the British East India Company in 1838 as a chaplain and later became Archdeacon at Calcutta. A gifted mathematician who applied his mind to problems of geodesy and earth science, he was approached by the Surveyor General of India to examine the errors in surveys resulting from...
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