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.

an Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician who played a major role in the scientific revolution during the Renaissance.

a German astronomer from Radis, Germany, at the Berlin Observatory who was the first person to view the planet Neptune and know what he was looking at.

a Spanish explorer, author, historian, astronomer, and scientist. His birthplace is not certain and may have been Pontevedra, in Galicia. In Lima he was accused by the Inquisition of possessing two magic rings and some magic ink and of following the precepts of Moses. In 1572 he was commissioned by Francisco de Toledo, the fifth Viceroy of Peru, to write a h...

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a Spanish explorer, author, historian, astronomer, and scientist. His birthplace is not certain and may have been Pontevedra, in Galicia. In Lima he was accused by the Inquisition of possessing two magic rings and some magic ink and of following the precepts of Moses. In 1572 he was commissioned by Francisco de Toledo, the fifth Viceroy of Peru, to write a history of the Incas. Explored the Solomon Islands.

a French philosopher, priest, scientist, astronomer, and mathematician. While he held a church position in south-east France, he also spent much time in Paris, where he was a leader of a group of free-thinking intellectuals. He was also an active observational scientist, publishing the first data on the transit of Mercury in 1631. The lunar crater Gassendi i...

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a French philosopher, priest, scientist, astronomer, and mathematician. While he held a church position in south-east France, he also spent much time in Paris, where he was a leader of a group of free-thinking intellectuals. He was also an active observational scientist, publishing the first data on the transit of Mercury in 1631. The lunar crater Gassendi is named after him. He wrote numerous philosophical works, and some of the positions he worked out are considered significant, finding a way between skepticism and dogmatism.

a German mathematician who contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, algebra, statistics, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, geophysics, mechanics, electrostatics, astronomy, matrix theory, and optics.

an English physician, physicist and natural philosopher. He passionately rejected both the prevailing Aristotelian philosophy and the Scholastic method of university teaching. He is remembered today largely for his book De Magnete (1600), and is credited as one of the originators of the term "electricity". He is regarded by some as the father of electrical e...

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an English physician, physicist and natural philosopher. He passionately rejected both the prevailing Aristotelian philosophy and the Scholastic method of university teaching. He is remembered today largely for his book De Magnete (1600), and is credited as one of the originators of the term "electricity". He is regarded by some as the father of electrical engineering or electricity and magnetism.

a German-French astronomer and painter who spent much of his life in France. He started out as a painter, but after attending a lecture by the famous French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier turned to astronomy. In 1820, Goldschmidt discovered shadow bands in total solar eclipses.

an English amateur astronomer. He is best known for his observations of the variable star Algol (Beta Persei) in 1782. Goodricke is credited with discovering the periodic variation of ? Cephei, the prototypical example of the Cepheid variable stars.

a pioneering American astronomer. He is noted for creating the Astronomical Journal, discovering the Gould Belt, and for founding of the Argentine National Observatory and the Argentine National Weather Service.

an Irish astronomer/computer. He discovered the asteroid 9 Metis in 1848 whilst employed at Markree Observatory in County Sligo. He later worked on the Markree Catalogue, which consists of observations of about sixty thousand stars along the ecliptic taken between August 8, 1848 and 27 March 1856 and was published in four Volumes over the years 1851, 1853, 1...

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an Irish astronomer/computer. He discovered the asteroid 9 Metis in 1848 whilst employed at Markree Observatory in County Sligo. He later worked on the Markree Catalogue, which consists of observations of about sixty thousand stars along the ecliptic taken between August 8, 1848 and 27 March 1856 and was published in four Volumes over the years 1851, 1853, 1854, 1856 respectively.

a British astronomer and member of the expedition to observe the transit of Venus aboard James Cook's Endeavour. Cook noted in his log that the times recorded by the three observers for the times of contact differed significantly; this anomaly, now generally ...

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a British astronomer and member of the expedition to observe the transit of Venus aboard James Cook's Endeavour. Cook noted in his log that the times recorded by the three observers for the times of contact differed significantly; this anomaly, now generally attributed to the black drop effect, would cast significant doubt, in the eyes of the Royal Society and Nevil Maskelyne, on the usefulness and value of the observations later.

a Scottish mathematician and astronomer. He described an early practical design for the reflecting telescope – the Gregorian telescope – and made advances in trigonometry, discovering infinite series representations for several trigonometric functions. In his book Geometriae Pars Universalis (1668) Gregory gave both the first published statement and proo...

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a Scottish mathematician and astronomer. He described an early practical design for the reflecting telescope – the Gregorian telescope – and made advances in trigonometry, discovering infinite series representations for several trigonometric functions. In his book Geometriae Pars Universalis (1668) Gregory gave both the first published statement and proof of the fundamental theorem of the calculus (stated from a geometric point of view, and only for a special class of the curves considered by later versions of the theorem), for which he was acknowledged by Isaac Barrow.

an English clergyman, mathematician, geometer and astronomer of Welsh descent. He is best remembered for his mathematical contributions which include the invention of the Gunter's chain, the Gunter's quadrant, and the Gunter's scale. In 1620, he invented the first successful analog device which he developed to calculate logarithmic tangents. He was mentored ...

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an English clergyman, mathematician, geometer and astronomer of Welsh descent. He is best remembered for his mathematical contributions which include the invention of the Gunter's chain, the Gunter's quadrant, and the Gunter's scale. In 1620, he invented the first successful analog device which he developed to calculate logarithmic tangents. He was mentored in mathematics by Reverend Henry Briggs and eventually became a Gresham Professor of Astronomy, from 1619 until his death.