6 of The Most Famous & Important Astronomers That You Should Know About

For hundreds of years, our species have long been fascinated by the skies and the different mysteries it brings. As a species, we’ve used our fascination to fuel our curiosity and learn more about its mysteries. Subsequently, there have been key individuals who played crucial roles in transforming our view and understanding of everything we see. You could say that these astronomers paved the way for our species to get a better grasp of the Earth and the dynamic of the universe itself.
We’ve managed to round up some of the most famous and important astronomers who ever lived. The majority of the astronomers in our list were remarkable scientists who used their training and knowledge to clarify the heavens with an incredible degree of precision. The contributions of these exceptional individuals to modern astronomy certainly cannot be overlooked. Without them, there’s absolutely no way that we would be able to come up with personalized maps of the stars.

Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642)

Galileo Galilei was a well-known Italian scientist who’s undoubtedly one of the most important figures in modern science. He’s responsible for several significant achievements and advancements in several scientific fields, and one of them is astronomy. One can directly trace the profound reform in motion analysis and credit his remarkable theory of inertia, the law of falling bodies, and parabolic trajectories. He also managed to transform natural philosophy from an analytical and linguistic account into a mathematical account.
Galileo is definitely the man who’s responsible for making experiments as the irrefutable means of learning and exploring the truth of nature. He also received credit for his remarkable discoveries using his telescope, and it allowed astronomy to flourish. Galileo’s advancements in the field of astronomy paved the way for the Copernican heliocentric system to be adopted. However, his support for said system eventually led to a reformation process aimed against him.

Johannes Kepler (1571 – 1630)

Johannes Kepler was one of the exceptional individuals who strongly defended and supported Copernicus. Kepler even managed to modify his theory in order to correlate it to a more modern consideration. He was one of the leading lights of the Scientific Revolution during the 16th and 17th centuries, receiving credit for discovering that the planets had elliptical orbits rather than perfect circles, as his idol Copernicus had once assumed.
This particular concept eventually became the first planetary law that he ever wrote back in 1609. Kepler’s second law revolved around the fact that planets don’t progress at a fixed and constant pace throughout their orbit. The third law, which he published an entire decade later, involved the distance of two planets’ elliptical orbits being proportional to their relative distances from the Sun. In turn, these laws made Kepler, a big name in the field of astronomy.

Christiaan Huygens (1629 – 1695)

Christiaan Huygens was an exceptional Dutch astronomer who also made notable strides in other fields such as physics and horology. He was able to design improved and remarkable telescopes that allowed him to make interesting discoveries in astronomy.
By 1655, Huygens was able to discover a tin plain ring that surrounded the planet Saturn. He also discovered the first moons of Saturn, which included Titan, during that period. Moreover, Huygens also received praise and credit for being the first person to draw and illustrate the Orion Nebula.
The astronomer was also responsible for developing the first pendulum timer. This development drastically improved the precision of calculating time. Interestingly, a recent probe to examine Titan was named after him to pay homage and respect to the various contributions he made across several fields.

Stephen Hawking (1942 – 2018)

Stephen Hawking is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable scientific minds that we’ve ever seen. Hawking’s theories in cosmology and theoretical physics were able to have an immense influence on our understanding of space. Interestingly, Hawking is also known for his motor neuron syndrome, directly associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He’s had this condition since he was 20 years old.
Despite his condition, Hawking was able to discover many important things in astronomy and science. He made his first remarkable finding at Cambridge University during his time as a researcher. This discovery was that the Universe started through the Big Bang, and it would also end. Hawking’s findings were published in countless books, including the top-selling book “A Brief History of Time.” Hawking also received credit as one of the top theoretical physicists around the globe, and he’s also known for his remarkable research on black holes.

Jocelyn “Bell” Burnell (1943 – Present)

There’s certainly no question that Jocelyn Bell Burnell is one of the most important figures in science and astronomy today. She’s best known for detecting pulsars which are spinning neutron stars that tend to emit a “pulse.” Interestingly, this “pulse” is pretty rare as we can only detect beams of light emitted when they are facing the Earth. Burnell’s discovery is considered one of the most important discoveries of astronomy in the past century.
Burnell’s several discoveries allowed her to become a giant in astronomy. She’s been a role model for female scientists and young students worldwide. In 1999, Burnell was assigned to the CBE for her astronomy services. By 2007, she already achieved a DBE degree, and BBC Four’s Beautiful Minds highlighted her remarkable story.

Edwin P. Hubble

You’ve probably heard about the Hubble telescope during your science or astronomy classes. Interestingly, the telescope was named after United States astronomer Edwin Hubble. He received credit for changing the world of astronomy, and this American astronomer was able to come up with three significant contributions.
Hubble showed that the nebulae that we saw back then were objects and galaxies that were well outside our galaxy. He made this discovery using his 100-inch telescope at the Mt. Wilson Observatory in California. Subsequently, this discovery defied the belief that the Milky Way was considered the Universe.
Hubble’s next discovery came between 1922 and 1923. He was the first person to identify multiple galaxies based on what he saw. In turn, Hubble categorized these galaxies based on their forms: irregular, spiral, and elliptical.
Lastly, Hubble’s third contribution was the development of the redshift distance theorem back in 1929. In case you don’t know, the theorem is also known as “Hubble’s law,” which specifies that when a galaxy is farther away, its redshift is larger. Subsequently, it’s possible to calculate a particular galaxy’s receding velocity through its redshift.