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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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William Wales

borndied
1734 ca1798, Dec 29
a British mathematician and astronomer. As part of the plans of the Royal Society to make observations of the June 1769 transit of Venus, which would lead to an accurate determination of the astronomical unit (the distance between the Earth and the Sun), Wales and an assistant, Joseph Dymond, were sent to Prince of Wales Fort on Hudson Bay to observe the tra...
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Cross-listed in ClergyWritersScientists

Seth Ward

borndied
16171689, Jan 6
an English mathematician, astronomer, and bishop. King Charles II appointed him to the livings of St Lawrence Jewry in London, and Uplowman, Devonshire, in 1661. He also became dean of Exeter Cathedral (1661) and rector of St Breock, Cornwall in 1662. In the latter year he was consecrated Bishop of Exeter, and in 1667 he was translated to the see of Salisbur...
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Edmund Weaver

borndied
1683 ca1748, Dec 27
an English astronomer and land surveyor. His The British Telescope ephemerides (astronomical tables) is considered an important 18th-century publication on the movement of planets. Weaver supported the heliocentric view of the universe. He opposed criticism of the accuracy of ephemerides formulated by Edmond Halley, the Astronomer Royal, particularly that fr...
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Thomas William Webb

bornactivedied
1807, Dec 141829-18851885, May 19
a British astronomer. Through his career T. W. Webb served as a clergyman at various places including Gloucester, and finally in 1852 was assigned to the parish of Hardwicke near the border with Wales. In addition to serving faithfully the members of his parish, T. W. Webb pursued astronomical observation in his spare time. It was at Hardwick that he wrote h...
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Godefroy Wendelin

aka: Godefroy, Godefroid, Gottfried, Govaert Wendelen, Godefridus Wendelinus, Vendelinus
bornactivedied
1580, Jun 61599-16521667, Oct 24
a Flemish astronomer. The crater Vendelinus on the Moon is named after him. Around 1630 he measured the distance between the Earth and the Sun using the method of Aristarchus of Samos. The value he calculated was 60% of the true value. Wendelinus was credited with recognizing that Kepler's third law applied to the satellites of Jupiter.
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J. G. Westphal

aka: Justus Georg Westphal
borndied
1824, Mar 181859, Nov 9
a German astronomer and mathematician. Westphal is chiefly known for discovering the periodic comet 20D/Westphal on July 24, 1852. Westphal did not discover any other comets or any asteroids, though he made many observations of asteroids and calculated the orbital elements of several.
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Johann Heinrich Westphal

borndied
1794, Jan 311831
a German astronomer. He was born in Schwerin. His professional career was spent mostly in Italy. He translated Giuseppe Piazzi's Lezioni elementari di astronomia ad use del real osservatorio di Palermo into German. He died in Sicily.
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Cross-listed in Educators

John Winthrop [2]

borndied
1714, Dec 191779, May 3
a distinguished mathematician, physicist and astronomer, born in Boston, Mass. Professor Winthrop was one of the foremost men of science in America during the 18th century, and his impact on its early advance in New England was particularly significant. Both Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford) probably owed much of their early interest in...
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Thomas Wright [2]

bornactivedied
1711, Sep 221730-1770s1786, Feb 25
an English astronomer, mathematician, instrument maker, architect and garden designer. He was the first to describe the shape of the Milky Way and speculate that faint nebulae were distant galaxies.
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