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NATS 1745 Important Dates Page 1
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Section 2: Scientific Revolution to the Birth of Astrophysics items in blue also discussed in Section 3 (not on Section 2 exam)

1543 CE
late 1500’s
1572 1577 1588 c. 1600 1609 1609 1610 1632 1665-66 1668 1687 1704 1659 1705
late 1700’s 1781 1783 1784 1785 1800 1801 1801 1802 1803
1814 1838 1845 1846 mid 1800’s 1859
1879(-84) 1864 1868 1888 1890 1893

Copernicus published On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (heliocentric model), and dies Brahe – builds large observatories (no telescope yet) and makes accurate positional observations Brahe observes supernova Brahe observes comet Brahe publishes geo-heliocentric model Kepler works for Brahe (1600-1602) Kepler publishes Astronomia Nova (laws of planetary motion) Galileo observes sky with telescope, confirms heliocentric model Galileo publishes Starry Messenger (see above) – initial problems with Church Galileo publishes Dialogue on the Two World systems – further problems with Church Newton’s annus mirabilis Newton’s reflecting telescope Newton publishes Principia: Laws of Motion, Law of Universal Gravitation Newton publishes Optiks (includes experiments on colour & light) Huygens understands Saturn’s rings Halley publishes details of comet orbits; realizes one is periodic and motion can be predicted by Newton’s Laws Herschel builds large telescopes, observes and catalogues objects with sister Caroline Herschel discovers Uranus (accidentally by sweeping sky) John Michell proposes ‘dark star’ with escape speed > c final version of Messier’s catalogue published Herschel creates first map of our galaxy Herschel discovers infra red radiation Ritter discovers ultraviolet radiation Young’s double slit experiment proves wave like nature of light Wollaston first sees dark lines in solar spectrum Herschel realizes some double stars are gravitationally bound and their motions are given by Newton’s Laws Fraunhofer rediscovers dark lines on solar spectrum 1st calculation of distance by parallax to star 61 Cygni, by Bessel Rosse builds ‘Leviathan of Parsontown’, observes ‘spiral nebulae’ Neptune discovered, based on mathematical predictions of Newton’s Laws earliest astronomical photographs Kirchhoff publishes 3 Laws for appearance of 3 types of spectra; Kirchhoff & Bunsen realize spectra can be used to identify chemical composition of stars: the birth of astrophysics Stefan(-Boltzmann) Law Huggins solves Riddle of Nebulae Huggins observes 1st redshifted spectrum of Sirius Herschel’s ‘New General Catalogue’ published Pickering publishes Harvard Observatory atlas on spectral classification Wien’s Law