Monkey

Quiz Monkey
What do you want to know?

You are here:

Science
Astronomy
History

On this page:

Timeline
Telescopes
Astronomers
Other

History of Astronomy

Timeline

Galileo discovers the four largest moons of Jupiter Click to show or hide the answer
William Herschel discovers Uranus – the first planet discovered by telescope Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
Johann Gottfried Galle, at the Berlin Observatory, discovers Neptune Click to show or hide the answer
Percival Lowell – a wealthy Bostonian, searching for 'Planet X' since 1909 – captures two faint images of Pluto, but fails to recognise them for what they are (he died the following year) Click to show or hide the answer
Clyde Tombaugh, working at Lowell's observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, discovers Pluto Click to show or hide the answer
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
Pluto is reclassified as a dwarf planet (along with Ceres, formerly classed as an asteroid, and Eris, a TNO) Click to show or hide the answer
Haumea and Makemake are added to the list of dwarf planets Click to show or hide the answer

Telescopes

Location of the Lovell Telescope – Goostrey, near Macclesfield, Cheshire – completed in 1957 Click for more information 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Telescope near Bonn that superseded the Lovell in 1972 as the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope Click to show or hide the answer
Location (in Virginia) of the Robert C. Byrd telescope, which superseded the Effelsberg in 2002 as the world's largest fully steerable radio telescope (after its predecessor, on the same site, collapsed in 1988) Click to show or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
Name given to the global array of radio telescopes, working together to produce a highly sensitive telescope with high angular resolution; launched in 2009, it took the first image of a black hole (at the centre of galaxy Messier 87), which was published in April 2019 Click to show or hide the answer
Due to be launched by Ariane 5 in 2021 (delayed from 2018) to replace the Hubble (which is nevertherless expected to remain operational until the 2030s): named after the second administrator of NASA, 1961–8, who played an integral role in the Apollo program; a collaboration between NASA, ESA and the Canadian Space Agency Click to show or hide the answer
Proposed intergovernmental radio telescope project, to be built in Australia and South Africa: named after its total collecting area, which would make it 50 times more sensitive than any other radio instrument. Construction due to begin in 2020, observations not expected any earlier than 2027 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): 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; lived in Prague for the last four years of his life, as official astronomer to Rudolph II, King of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor, after falling out with the Danish king (Christian IV) Click to show or hide the answer
Catholic cleric from Royal Prussia (a.k.a. Polish Prussia) who in around 1533 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
Belgian priest and astronomer, who proposed around 1930 that the universe began from 'a cataclysmic event from a singularity' – which he called the "hypothesis of the primeval atom", but which soon became universally known as the Big Bang theory 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; died in 2012, aged 98 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
Offered a job at Percival Lowell's observatory near Flagstaff, Arizona, in 1929 (aged 23), after sending drawings he'd made of Jupiter and Mars; given the job of performing a systematic search for the trans–Neptunian planet that had been predicted by Lowell (who died in 1916); discovered Pluto ten months later, in February 1930 Click to show or hide the answer

Other

'LGM–1' (from "little green men") was the temporary name given by astronomers Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Antony Hewish of Cambridge University, to the object that they discovered in 1967, which was the first known Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017–20