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.

Last Name

Julius Reichelt

a German mathematician and astronomer who may have set up the first observatory in the city of Strasbourg. Reichelt traveled through Northern Europe some time after 1666 and met other notable 17th century scientists and thinkers. After his return from his trip Reichelt may have proposed the building of the "turret lantern" as an astronomical observatory at t...
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Cross-listed in Writers

Erasmus Reinhold

1511, Oct 221553, feb 19
a German astronomer and mathematician, considered to be the most influential astronomical pedagogue of his generation. He was born and died in Saalfeld, Saxony. In 1536 he was appointed professor of higher mathematics by Philipp Melanchthon. In contrast to the limited modern definition, "mathematics" at the time also included applied mathematics, especially ...
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Cross-listed in Clergy

Giovanni Battista Riccioli

1598, Apr 171628-16711671, Jun 25
an Italian astronomer and a Catholic priest in the Jesuit order. He is known, among other things, for his experiments with pendulums and with falling bodies, for his discussion of 126 arguments concerning the motion of the Earth, and for introducing the current scheme of lunar nomenclature.
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Jean Richer

a French astronomer and assistant at The French Academy of Sciences, under the direction of Giovanni Domenico Cassini. Between 1671 and 1673 he performed experiments and carried out celestial observations in Cayenne, French Guiana, at the request of the French Academy. His observations and measurements of Mars during its perihelic opposition, coupled with th...
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Cross-listed in Inventors

David Rittenhouse

1732, Apr 81750s-1780s1796, Jun 26
a renowned American astronomer, inventor, clockmaker, mathematician, surveyor, scientific instrument craftsman and public official. Rittenhouse was a member of the American Philosophical Society and the first director of the United States Mint. In 1770 Rittenhouse completed an advanced orrery.
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Arjen Roelofs

1754, Mar 11828, May 11
a Dutch astronomer. Arjen Roelofs observed four transits of Mercury. For three of these he made accurate predictions of the start and end times. His observations did not correspond to the orbital elements that were known at the time. If he had made this better known, a more accurate orbit for Mercury could have been calculated, but he was too modest.
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Ole Christensen Romer

aka: Rømer
1644, Sep 251710, Sep 19
a Danish astronomer who in 1676 made the first quantitative measurements of the speed of light. In Rømer's position as royal mathematician, he introduced the first national system for weights and measures in Denmark on 1 May 1683. In 1700, Rømer persuaded the king to introduce the Gregorian calendar in Denmark-Norway — something more
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Otto A. Rosenberger

1800, Aug 101890, Jan 23
a Baltic German astronomer from Tukums in Courland. Rosenberger graduated from the University of Königsberg, and was noted for his study of comets. He won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1837. He died in Halle, Prussian Saxony. The crater Rosenberger on the Moon is named after him.
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