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Science
Astronomy
History

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Planets
Dates
Telescopes
Astronomers

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History of Astronomy

Planets

Discovered in 1781 by William Herschel: the first planet discovered by telescope Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
Discovered in 1846 by Johann Gottfried Galle at the Berlin Observatory Click to show or hide the answer
Discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh in Flagstaff, Arizona; reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006 Click to show or hide the answer

Dates

Van Allen belts discovered Click to show or hide the answer
Uranus's rings discovered, during observation of an occultation Click to show or hide the answer

Telescopes

Location of the Lovell Telescope (at the Nuffield Radio Astronomy Laboratory ) – Goostrey, near Macclesfield, Cheshire – built in 1957 Click to show or hide the answer
Telescope near Bonn that superseded the Lovell in 1972 as the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope Click to show or hide the answer
Location (in Virginia) of the Robert C. Byrd telescope, which superseded the Effelsberg in 2002 as the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope (after its predecessor, on the same site, collapsed in 1988) Click to show or hide the answer
The first permanent space–based observatory: launched in 1990, various optical and electrical faults were fixed in orbit 1993 Click to show or hide the answer
Successor to the Hubble, scheduled for launch in 2020 (but the Hubble is expected to remain operational until the 2030s) Click to show or hide the answer

Astronomers

German lawyer, published Uranometria Omnium Asterismorum (1603) the first star atlas to cover the entire celestial sphere Click to show or hide the answer
Danish astronomer (1546–1601) who lost his nose in a drunken duel, aged 20 – had an observatory on the island of Hven; calculated the length of a year to within one second Click to show or hide the answer
Catholic cleric from Royal Prussia (a.k.a. Polish Prussia) who in 1543 proposed a heliocentric model of the Universe - with the Sun, and not the Earth, at its centre (including the idea that the Earth revolves around the Sun, and not vice versa) Click to show or hide the answer
The first Astronomer Royal (1675–1719) – appointed by Charles II as "The King's Astronomical Observator"; his accurate observation of the Moon contributed to Newton's theory of gravitation Click to show or hide the answer
Developed the astronomical telescope; discovered sunspots, the rings of Saturn, the four main satellites of Jupiter, mountains and craters on the moon, phases of Venus (proving that it orbits the Sun), and that the Milky Way is made up of stars Click to show or hide the answer
The second Astronomer Royal (1720–42) Click to show or hide the answer
British astronomer (1915–2001): coined the term "big bang", during a BBC radio interview in 1949, to describe an event postulated by a theory he didn't subscribe to; he supported the alternative Steady State theory, which does not fit later observations Click to show or hide the answer
US astronomer, 1899–1953, whose observations led to the Big Bang theory; discovered that there are galaxies outside our own, and proposed that the universe is expanding Click to show or hide the answer
First described the rings of Saturn as a disc (1655) Click to show or hide the answer
Defined three laws of planetary motion, describing the movement of planets around the Sun; proved that planetary orbits were elliptical (1605) Click to show or hide the answer
Founder of Jodrell Bank radio telescope (1957): its main dish (the world's largest steerable dish radio telescope, on completion – now the third largest) was named in his honour in 1987 Click to show or hide the answer
US astronomer, predicted the existence of a ninth planet; when discovered 14 years after his death, name chosen because it starts with his initials. Founded the observatory at Flagstaff, Arizona, which bears his name, in 1894, and spent much of his time trying to prove that there was intelligent life on Mars; published his views in three books: Mars (1895), Mars and its Canals (1906), and Mars as the Abode of Life (1908) Click to show or hide the answer
French astronomer: in 1771, published a catalogue of 110 numbered "deep sky objects" - star clusters and nebulae - which are still known in his name today Click to show or hide the answer
Astronomer Royal, 1995–(2016) Click to show or hide the answer
Danish astronomer: measured the speed of light in 1675 Click to show or hide the answer
Italian astronomer, who in 1877 observed a network of linear structures on the surface of the planet Mars, which he called 'channels' – 'canali' in Italian, which was mistranslated into English as 'canals' Click to show or hide the answer
Estonian inventor (1930) of the type of telescope used in the Mount Palomar observatory Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017–18