Astronomy is a field of science that studies the stars, planets, galaxies, and other objects that make up our universe. Astronomers use telescopes, satellites, and other technologies to study space and everything within it. They also study how stars and other objects evolve, and how they affect other objects and our planet. Over the years there have been many famous astronomers whose contributions have changed and evolved our understanding of the Universe, and our place within it.
We take a look at some of the most famous astronomers of all time and the contributions they have made to our understanding of the universe. As well as some of the most famous astronomers alive today.
Famous Astronomers Through Time
1. Hipparchus (c. 190 – 120 BC)
- Fields of study: Astronomy, Mathematics, Geography
- Accomplishments and legacy: the Founder of Trigonometry, Greatest Astronomer of Antiquity
Hipparchus of Nicaea was a very well-known Greek astronomer who had great contributions in the fields of mathematics and geography. He is the founder of trigonometry and is considered by many the “greatest astronomer of antiquity.” He has also been called the father of astronomy.
Hipparchus was known for his astronomical observations in Rhodes where he applied mathematical techniques for accuracy. Through them, he was able to compile the first extensive star catalog.
Hipparchus was the first mathematician known to have produced a trigonometric table. He used these tabulated values to compute the eccentricity of the Moon and Sun’s orbit. By comparing the position of stars with the observations of Timocharis of Alexandria 150 years earlier, Hipparchus discovered the precession of the equinoxes. In addition, he also devised a method to predict solar eclipses.
Only very little of the works of Hipparchus has survived through time. In geography, it is said that he was the first one to have used the geographic coordinate system in determining latitude on Earth from star observations. His star catalog and works in geography, among others, became the basis of other astronomers after him, like Claudius Ptolemy.
2. Claudius Ptolemy (c. 100 CE – c. 170 CE)
- Fields of study: Astronomy, Mathematics, Geography, Optics
- Accomplishments and legacy: Ptolemaic universe (geocentric), the Almagest, Handy Tables, Guide to Geography
Claudius Ptolemaeus, famously known as Ptolemy, was a Greco-Egyptian astronomer. He was also a mathematician and geographer.
One of Ptolemy’s most famous works is the Almagest—an astronomical treatise about stars and planets. This scientific text, however, had a geocentric view of the Universe. For a long time, it was believed that the Earth was the center of the Universe. It was only about 1,400 years later that it was replaced by the heliocentric model.
Ptolemy was greatly influenced by Hipparchus. The star catalog in his Almagest was a version of the earlier works of Hipparchus. In this catalog, he identified 48 constellations but it only included the stars that can be seen with the naked eye.
Another important work of Ptolemy was the Handy Tables. These astronomical tables were considered especially useful by astronomers and astrologers alike. It was a tabulation of all data that were needed to compute the position and rising and setting of celestial objects like planets, stars, and the Moon.
Aside from astronomy and mathematics, Ptolemy also made a guide on how to draw maps. He included coordinates, latitudes and longitudes, in his map but only for the parts of the world that were known at the time.
3. Nicolaus Copernicus (February 19, 1473 – May 24, 1543)
- Fields of study: Astronomy, Mathematics, Economics, Medicine, Economics, Canon Law
- Accomplishments and legacy: Heliocentrism, De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium
Nicolaus Copernicus was a Polish astronomer who was most famous for his work on heliocentrism—the idea that the Sun is the center of the solar system. At the time when he proposed this model, the Ptolemaic system was the long-established belief which posits that the Earth is the center of the cosmos.
The earliest version of Copernicus’s work was called Commentariolus (“Little Commentary”) which he shared with his friends. The completed version, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium libri vi (“Six Books Concerning the Revolutions of the Heavenly Orbs”), was only published in 1543 just before his death.
During his life in the Renaissance era, Copernicus was not only involved in scientific studies but also in religious aspects as well. He got a doctorate in canon law or the study of the system of laws that govern the Catholic church.
His academic stretch started at the Kraków School of Mathematics and Astrology. He made planetary observations of the terrestrial planets, Mercury, Venus, and Mars, as well as the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn. As a polymath, Copernicus was also an economist and he worked as his uncle’s physician.
The Sun-centric model of Copernicus inspired the Copernican revolution and, ultimately, the Scientific Revolution. However, it was only about a hundred years after, after the time of Galileo Galilei, that the heliocentric system became a widely accepted model.
4. Galileo Galilei (February 15, 1564 – January 28, 1642)
- Fields of study: Astronomy, Physics, Mathematics, Physics
- Accomplishments and legacy: Heliocentrism, the scientific method, known as the “Father of Modern Physics” and “Father of Observational Astronomy”
Galileo Galilei was an Italian astronomer and mathematician who made significant contributions to how we know science today. In physics, he studied speed and velocity among other things. He also invented the thermoscope, a device that shows the temperature changes and which the modern thermometer evolved from. Aside from that, he also invented the military compasses.
Galileo is considered the Father of Observational Astronomy because of his use of telescopes in discovering and understanding celestial objects. He made observations on the Moon and when he pointed his refracting telescope at Jupiter, he discovered the biggest moons of the gas giant planet.
These objects were thought of as “stars” at first but their closeness to and occultation with Jupiter made scientists rethink at the time. Now, these natural satellites are called the Galilean moons (Europa, Io, Ganymede, and Callisto) after him. Possibly, he was also the first person to spot Neptune but was not able to recognize it as a planet.
Through his telescope, Galileo was able to observe many celestial objects and phenomena such as Saturn’s rings, sunspots, and the Milky Way. His observations on the “phases” of Venus did not coincide with the geocentric model which was the widely accepted belief at the time. Like Copernicus, Galileo championed the heliocentric model.
However, the scientists were divided and the Church, which was the authority at the time, did not favor the new model of the cosmos. Galileo’s work on heliocentrism became subjected to the Roman Inquisition which ultimately commuted him to house arrest. This is where he remained for the rest of his life.
5. Johannes Kepler ( December 27, 1571 – November 15, 1630)
- Fields of study: Astronomy, mathematics
- Accomplishments and legacy: Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, Rudolphine Tables
Johannes Kepler was a German astronomer who was one of the most notable figures during the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century. His interest in astronomy started when he was still young when he witnessed the Great Comet of 1577.
Kepler studied both the geocentric and heliocentric models of the universe and chose the latter as the more accurate system. His greatest contribution to science is his discovery of the three fundamental laws of planetary motion.
The first one is that he believed that the planets, including Earth, travel around the Sun following their elliptical orbits. The second is about equal areas—that planets cover equal areas in the same amount of time in their orbits. The third one states that the orbital period of a planet is proportional to its semi-major axis.
The Rudolphine Tables is another one of Kepler’s notable works. He collaborated on this project with Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe but upon the latter’s death, he was left alone to finish it. This star table was produced to allow for the computation of the position of planets in the solar system relative to the position of the stars in the sky. It was much more accurate than the tables published in the earlier centuries.
6. Christiaan Huygens (April 14, 1629 – July 8, 1695)
- Fields of study: Astronomy, Mathematics, Physics
- Accomplishments and legacy: Discoverer of the Saturnian moon Titan, Wave Theory of Light, determined the shape of Saturn’s rings, Systema Saturnium
Christiaan Huygens was a Dutch mathematician, astronomer, and physicist. He was an inventor who created the pendulum clock and he also improved on the design of telescopes. With this improved design, he was able to observe astronomical objects with more detail.
Huygens discovered the moon Titan, which is the largest natural satellite of Saturn. At the time, the strange appearance of Saturn was a big mystery. Huygens was the first one to explain that the reason for this unusual appearance was because “a thin, flat ring” surrounds the planet without touching it.
In his published work Systema Saturnium, Huygens not only discussed about the ringed planet Saturn but on other subjects as well. This is one of the most important works in telescopic astronomy.
Through his refracting telescope, Huygens was able to observe and make a detailed drawing of the famous Orion Nebula. Interestingly, he was also able to distinguish the stars that make up this nebula. The brightest and central area of this nebula is now called the Huygenian region after him.
Aside from astronomy, he also made important contributions in the field of physics and mathematics. With that said, he became one of the key figures during the scientific revolution.
7. Giovanni Domenico Cassini (June 8, 1625 – September 14, 1712)
- Fields of study: Astronomy, mathematics, engineering
- Accomplishments and legacy: Cassini division in Saturn’s rings, discoverer of four Saturnian moons
Giovanni Cassini was an Italian astronomer who made important observations on solar system planets, especially the Saturnian system. Astrology was deeply tied with astronomy and, like other intellectuals at the time, Cassini was also knowledgeable in this area. However, at the onset of the scientific revolution, he became more focused on astronomy and denounced astrology to focus on a more systematic study of the heavens.
Cassini was the first person to observe the division in the rings of Saturn. Specifically, he discovered the Cassini Division in 1675. He also discovered these four moons of the ringed planets: Rhea, Iapetus, Tethys, and Dione. Cassini correctly identified that a dark material seems to cover a part of Iapetus, causing its changes in brightness. This mysterious dark material is now called Cassini Regio after him.
Using a telescope around 1690, Cassini was able to observe the colorful bands of Jupiter’s atmosphere and the gas giant’s differential rotation. He also observed the oblate appearance of the planet and was able to estimate its rotation period. Together with Robert Hooke, he is often cited as the discoverer of the long-standing storm on Jupiter called the Great Red Spot.
8. Edmond Halley (November 8, 1656 – January 14, 1742)
- Fields of study: Astronomy, Mathematics, Physics, Meteorology
- Accomplishments and legacy: A Synopsis of the Astronomy of Comets, Halley’s Comet
Edmond Halley was a British astronomer, mathematician, and meteorologist, among other things. He was the second Astronomer Royal in Britain. He is most famous for his works on comets but he also made contributions to other astronomical objects. Through his observations, he realized that the transit of planets could help in determining their distances.
In 1705, Halley published his paper titled Astronomiae cometicae synopsis or A Synopsis of the Astronomy of Comets. In this paper, he stated that the comets seen before in 1456, 1531, 1607, and 1682 were, in fact, the same. He predicted that it would be seen again in 1758. Using the Laws of Motion by Newton, Halley was able to compute the periodicity of this comet.
Halley was correct in his calculations because the comet was seen once again in 1758. Though he did not live to see the comet when it came back, his prediction marked a great triumph in science. This comet is now known as Halley’s comet after him. It is arguably the most famous periodic comet which visits the inner solar system around every 75 years or so.
Edmond Halley’s first name is sometimes spelled as Edmund. His last name has different variations as well like Hailey, Haley, and Haly.
9. Isaac Newton ( January 4, 1643 – March 31, 1727)
- Fields of study: Physics, Mathematics, Astronomy, Optics
- Accomplishments and legacy: Newton’s laws of motion and universal gravitation
Isaac Newton was an English astronomer, physicist, and mathematician who is one of the most famous scientists of all time. He made contributions to the study of classical mechanics, calculus, and optics, specifically in white light composition. In relation to his work in the color theory, he published his outstanding book Opticks and he also made the first reflecting telescope.
Newton’s discovery of gravity has led to a better understanding of forces and the physics behind many natural phenomena. In a famous story, it is said that Newton found inspiration in his works on gravity by watching an apple fruit fall from its tree.
One of his acquaintances wrote that Newton wondered why the apple always falls from the tree perpendicular to the ground and not sideways or any other way. It is then that the famous astronomer realized that something might be drawing the falling object to the ground. His laws of motion also coincided with Kepler’s work on planetary motion.
The three laws of motion are as stated:
- A body remains in its state (whether at rest or in motion) unless acted upon by a force to change this state.
- The change in motion of a body is proportional to the force acting upon it.
- For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
10. Charles Messier (June 26, 1730 – April 12, 1817)
- Fields of study: Astronomy
- Accomplishments and legacy: Messier catalog
Charles Messier was a French astronomer who is best known for his works in cataloging nebulae and star clusters. As a comet hunter, he would often come across other diffuse objects in the sky that were not comets. He listed these objects to distinguish them from comets which were his real target. These non-comet bodies later became known as the Messier objects which became his most notable work.
Messier compiled the list with astronomer Pierre Méchain who also discovered some of the objects in the list. The first version of this catalog only included 45 objects, with some that were previously discovered by other astronomers. The final version grew up to 110 and the objects were designated from Messier 1 (M1) to Messier 110 (M110).
His work with comets has also been fruitful as he discovered 13 of them. Because of that, King Loius of France called him the “Ferret of Comets.” In his honor, the young Messier Crater on our Moon was named after him.
11. William Herschel (November 15, 1738 – August 25, 1822)
- Fields of study: Astronomy, Music
- Accomplishments and legacy: Discoverer of Uranus and its moons Oberon and Titania, discoverer of Saturnian moons Enceladus and Mimas, discoverer of infrared radiation, deep-sky surveys
William Herschel was a German-British composer turned astronomer who was most known for his discovery of the ice giant planet Uranus. He also discovered its moons Oberon and Titania.
After constructing his telescope, he used it to carry sky surveys to identify and investigate double stars ad celestial objects. Through his observations, he also found out that many “nebulae” in the Messier catalog were actually star clusters.
With his 40-foot telescope, Herschel discovered the two moons of Saturn, Mimas and Enceladus. He discovered the change in Martian ice caps, which changed depending on the season on the red planet. He also studied the Milky Way and believed that it has a disk structure but inaccurately assumed the Sun as the central object in this disk.
Herschel discovered infrared radiation through his observations of sunspots. By testing light to pass through a prism, he detected a temperature that is higher than the visible spectrum. With that, he discovered that there must be an invisible light beyond the colors that we can see. This became known as infrared radiation.
Herschel collaborated with his sister, Caroline, in many of his scientific studies. She worked as his assistant in the office and ultimately made her own discoveries.
12. Caroline Herschel (March 16, 1750 – January 9, 1848)
- Fields of study: Astronomy
- Accomplishments and legacy: Discoverer of comets
Caroline Herschel was a German astronomer who was the sister of William Herschel. Though she worked alongside her brother, Caroline made her own mark in astronomy as the first woman to discover a comet.
At a young age, Caroline became ill with typhus which left her partially blind in the left eye and stunted her growth. Because of this, her family thought that it was best for her to learn house chores rather than become educated. After her father’s death, she joined her brother William in England to help in the household and his musical performances.
When his brother transitioned from his music career to become an astronomer, Caroline supported and helped him in every way she can. She grew to love astronomy as she assisted her brother in his studies and observations. Unsatisfied with the quality of lenses available on the market, William started to build his own telescopes and Caroline spent a lot of time polishing the mirror.
Caroline was unhappy with her tasks at first but soon enjoyed sweeping the sky to look for undiscovered objects. Her first discovery was the dwarf galaxy Messier 110 which is a satellite of the larger Andromeda galaxy. She discovered eight comets and later received wages for her scientific endeavors. She became the first woman to do so. Caroline was also the first woman to receive the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.
13. Henrietta Swan Leavitt (July 4, 1868 – December 12, 1921)
- Fields of study: Astronomy
- Accomplishments and legacy: Discoverer of Cepheid variables, period-luminosity relationship in Cepheids
Henrietta Swan Leavitt was an American astronomer who was a human “computer” whose task was to do mathematical computations when electrical computers were still not available. At Harvard College Observatory, she examined photographic plates to measure the brightness of stars and catalog them. This led to her discovery of Cepheid variable stars.
In her senior year at Radcliffe College, Leavitt suffered a severe illness that impaired her hearing ability. Still, she pursued her passion for astronomy and worked at the Harvard College Observatory where she worked on variable stars.
Cepheid variables become important in astronomy because they serve as “standard candles” for measuring the distance of celestial objects. Leavitt’s work on the period-luminosity relationship of Cepheid variables allowed for a more accurate and greater scope of interstellar and intergalactic distances.
At the time, the prejudice and gender gap did not allow Leavitt to pursue her chosen topics of study. She was only allowed to work on things that were assigned to her. However, the circumstances did not hinder her from making significant contributions to the field of astronomy. During her career, she identified more than 2,400 variable stars—this number accounts for about half of the total number of known variables at the time.
She was greatly remembered for her hard work and was called by a colleague as “possessing the best mind” at the Harvard College Observatory where she worked until she died in 1921.
14. Annie Jump Cannon (December 11, 1863 – April 13, 1941)
- Fields of study: Astronomy
- Accomplishments and legacy: Stellar classification system, “census taker of the sky”
Annie Jump Cannon was an American astronomer who worked on the classification of stars. She was nicknamed the “census taker of the sky” because of her work on cataloging and classifying stars. During her career, she manually classified more than 300,000 stars, which is more than any other person has ever done.
Cannon became nearly deaf after being sick with scarlet fever. As a result, she became more immersed in work. She was part of the Harvard Computers, a team of women who manually processed astronomical data to catalog stars and map out the night sky. The Team was initially managed by Edward Charles Pickering and after his death, was directed by Cannon.
Her most notable contribution is the creation of the Harvard Classification Scheme. In this system, stars are classified based on their temperatures and spectral types. With only a very few changes, this remains the stellar classification system used today. Like Henrietta Swan Leavitt, Cannon was one of the forefront women who proved that women are just as capable as men in the male-dominated field of astronomy.
15. Edwin Hubble (November 20, 1889 – September 28, 1953)
- Fields of study: Astronomy
- Accomplishments and legacy: Proved that other galaxies exist, Hubble’s Law, Hubble sequence
Edwin Hubble was an American astronomer who became known for his role in proving that other galaxies, outside the Milky Way, exist. At the time, it was believed that the Milky Way was the entire universe and that everything in the sky was within it.
The scale of the universe became the subject of the Great Debate in 1920. It discussed the true nature of clouds of gas and dust called “nebulae.” At the time, the Andromeda galaxy was considered a “nebula” and was thought to be inside the Milky Way.
In 1924, Hubble made sky observations when he was at Mount Wilson Observatory. He then discovered that these so-called nebulae are actually separate galaxies outside our own. Following Henrietta Swan Leavitt’s work on Cepheid variables, Hubble was able to determine the distances of these “nebula” and realized that they are too far away to be in the Milky Way.
Hubble was faced with skepticism at the time but he published his findings anyway. He also devised the Hubble Sequence—a classification system for galaxies based on their shapes and appearance. With Hubble’s law, he provided evidence that the universe is expanding. Because of his contributions to science, the famous Hubble Space Telescope was named after him.
16. Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955)
- Fields of study: Physics
- Accomplishments and legacy: Theory of general relativity, E = mc2, quantum mechanics
Albert Einstein was a German-born physicist who is one of the most influential scientists of all time. His theory of general relativity is a theory of gravity. It says that gravity is a warp in space-time caused by the mass of an object. The more massive an object is, the more warp it creates on its surrounding space.
The theory of relativity has become one of the most vital concepts in how we understand black holes today. Though Einstein predicted it many years ago, it was only in 2019 that we got to see the first image of a black hole. Of course, the image of M87 is merely a silhouette but not the black hole itself because no light can escape a black hole.
Einstein also predicted gravitational waves or the ripples in the curvature of space-time. Though it was only a concept at the time, indirect evidence of these disturbances was observed only about 100 years after his prediction. Einstein’s theories and principles became some of the most important concepts in modern astrophysics and in understanding the universe as a whole.
17. Harlow Shapley (November 2, 1885 – October 20, 1972)
- Fields of study: Astronomy
- Accomplishments and legacy: the Great Debate of 1920, estimated the size of the Milky Way, liquid water belt theory
Harlow Shapley was an American astronomer who used Cepheid variables to calculate the approximate size of the universe. He participated in the Great Debate and argued that the then-called Andromeda nebula was part of the Milky Way. Though the other party, Herber Curtis, was right that the nebulae are separate galaxies, this discussion opened the way for extragalactic astronomy.
In the debate, Shapley’s calculations on the size of the Milky Way were more correct. He was also right that the solar system is located in the outer parts of the galaxy and not in its center.
Shapley’s “liquid water belt” theory became what is now known as the habitable zone. According to his theory, a planet has to be located at a certain distance from its star for it to harbor liquid water and, ultimately, life. This concept has become an important characteristic that we look for when examining extrasolar planets or exoplanets.
18. Clyde Tombaugh (February 4, 1906 – January 17, 1997)
- Fields of study: Astronomy
- Accomplishments and legacy: Discoverer of Pluto
Clyde Tombaugh was an American astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930. He discovered Pluto through photographs and used a blink separator to compare the different images. At the time of discovery, it was still considered a planet and was later reclassified as a dwarf planet in 2006. It is the largest object in the Kuiper belt.
Tombaugh continued to search for other celestial objects after discovering Pluto. For a long time, he did not discover anything in his search for Planet X. However, during this career, he was credited to have discovered 15 asteroids. Apart from that, he discovered deep-sky objects and hundred of variable stars. He also discovered the 274P/Tombaugh–Tenagra comet.
Tombaugh was interested in UFOs among other things. He was also involved in the search for near-Earth satellites. The famous heart-shaped bright surface on Pluto was named Tombaugh Regio after him.
19. Carl Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996)
- Fields of study: Astronomy, astrophysics, astrobiology
- Accomplishments and legacy: Popularizing astronomy, Voyager Golden Record, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, science communicator
Carl Sagan was an American astronomer who made astronomy more interesting to many. He was an author who published hundreds of scientific papers. He also wrote the famous TV series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.
Carl chaired the committee that worked on the Golden Records that were sent aboard the Voyager twin probes. These are important as they are our first physical message sent into space that might be understood by extraterrestrial life that may find them.
Sagan’s interest in extraterrestrial life was widely known and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). He was also a pioneer in the field of astrobiology or the study of life in the universe.
20. Stephen Hawking (January 8, 1942 – March 14, 2018)
- Fields of study: General relativity, quantum mechanics
- Accomplishments and legacy: A Brief History of Time, Hawking radiation
Stephen Hawking was an English theoretical physicist whose theory of cosmology linked the theory of general relativity to quantum mechanics. He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or motor neuron disease (MND) during his postgraduate studies. However, this neurodegenerative disease did not stop him from pursuing his academic endeavors.
As a cosmologist, Hawking was most known for his work on singularity, black holes, and space-time. He pointed out that if the universe has a beginning, then it most likely has an end. His book, A Brief History of Time, become a well-received best-seller and was translated into different languages. The radiation that black holes emit is called Hawking radiation, after him. Because of his sense of humor, he was featured on some TV shows like The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory.
Famous Astronomers Alive Today
- Fields of study: Astrophysics
- Accomplishments and legacy: Co-discoverer of pulsars
Jocelyn Bell is an astrophysicist who discovered the first pulsar. This object was detected through an unusual radio source which was temporarily nicknamed “little green man” in reference to extraterrestrial life. Later, this object was identified as a neutron star, specifically a pulsar, which is the remnant core of a supermassive star that exploded into a supernova as it reached the end of its stellar life.
Despite her contributions to the discovery of pulsars, Bell did not receive the Nobel Prize in 1974. Instead, it was given to Antony Hewish who was the thesis supervisor of the paper. Even so, Bell remains an advocate who aimed to improve the status of women in the field of astronomy and physics.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
- Fields of study: Astrophysics
- Accomplishments and legacy: Popularizing science and astronomy
Neal deGrasse Tyson is a famous American astrophysicist and science communicator. He published different books on the subject and wrote essays in different science magazines. He popularized “Manhattanhenge” which is when the sunsets and sunrises align in the street grid of Manhattan in New York.
Tyson became one of the most familiar faces of science due to his frequent appearances in the media. His simple explanation of complex subjects makes it easier for the public to grasp the topics. He has been the director of the Hayden Planetarium since 1996.
Robert Woodrow Wilson
- Fields of study: Astronomy, Physics
- Accomplishments and legacy: Discoverer of cosmic background radiation (CMB)
Robert Woodrow Wilson is an American astrophysicist who discovered CMB together with Arno Allan Penzias. The CMB is said to be the relic radiation from the early universe. The two astronomers received the Nobel Prize for this in 1978.
- Fields of study: Astronomy
- Accomplishments and legacy: Confirmed the existence of dark matter
Vera Rubin is an American astronomer who studied spiral galaxies and their rotation rates. It is in these studies that she observed that the stars in the galaxy have more or less the same rotational speeds whether they are near or far from the galactic center. This proved the existence of dark matter, an unknown matter that fills the galaxies.
- Fields of study: Imaging science, planetary science
- Accomplishments and legacy: Head of Cassini Imaging Team and other planetary missions
Carolyn Porco is an American planetary scientist who is a key figure in the imaging team of NASA’s Cassini-Huygens mission which explored the system of Saturn. She was also part of the Voyager and the New Horizons teams.
During the Cassini mission, her team discovered seven smaller moons of Saturn namely: Anthe, Aegaeon, Daphnis, Methone, Pallene, and Polydeuces. The team also discovered newer rings on Saturn through Cassini’s approach to the ringed planet.
She conceived the famous photograph called “The Day the Earth Smiled” which was taken by Cassini during an eclipse, making the rings of Saturn largely visible. The Earth and Moon were also seen as dots in the photo.
Famous Astronomers – Sources:
Famous Astronomers – Image Sources:
Claudius Ptolemy: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/16/Ptolemy_16century.jpg/800px-Ptolemy_16century.jpg
Galileo Galilei: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d4/Justus_Sustermans_-_Portrait_of_Galileo_Galilei%2C_1636.jpg/330px-Justus_Sustermans_-_Portrait_of_Galileo_Galilei%2C_1636.jpg
Johannes Kepler: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/74/JKepler.jpg/330px-JKepler.jpg
Christiaan Huygens: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a4/Christiaan_Huygens-painting.jpeg/800px-Christiaan_Huygens-painting.jpeg
Giovanni Domenico Cassini :https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/Giovanni_Cassini.jpg
Edmond Halley: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/77/Edmund_Halley.gif/800px-Edmund_Halley.gif
Isaac Newton: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3b/Portrait_of_Sir_Isaac_Newton%2C_1689.jpg/800px-Portrait_of_Sir_Isaac_Newton%2C_1689.jpg
Charles Messier: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a4/Charles_Messier.jpg
William Herschel: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/36/William_Herschel01.jpg/800px-William_Herschel01.jpg
Caroline Herschel: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f1/1829_Melchior_Gommar_Tieleman%2C_%C3%96lgem%C3%A4lde_Caroline_Herschel_Hannover.tif/lossy-page1-800px-1829_Melchior_Gommar_Tieleman%2C_%C3%96lgem%C3%A4lde_Caroline_Herschel_Hannover.tif.jpg
Henrietta Swan Leavitt: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3b/Leavitt_aavso.jpg
Annie Jump Cannon: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/eb/Annie_Jump_Cannon_1922_Portrait.jpg/800px-Annie_Jump_Cannon_1922_Portrait.jpg
Edwin Hubble: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/15/Studio_portrait_photograph_of_Edwin_Powell_Hubble_%28cropped%29.JPG/800px-Studio_portrait_photograph_of_Edwin_Powell_Hubble_%28cropped%29.JPG
Albert Einstein: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/50/Albert_Einstein_%28Nobel%29.png
Harlow Shapley: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b4/HarlowShapley-crop.jpg
Clyde Tombaugh: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/01/Clyde_W._Tombaugh.jpeg
Carl Sagan: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8d/Carl_Sagan_Planetary_Society_cropped.png
Stephen Hawking: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/eb/Stephen_Hawking.StarChild.jpg
Jocelyn Bell: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c4/Launch_of_IYA_2009%2C_Paris_-_Grygar%2C_Bell_Burnell_cropped.jpg
Neil deGrasse Tyson: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f7/Tyson_-_Apollo_40th_anniversary_2009.jpg/800px-Tyson_-_Apollo_40th_anniversary_2009.jpg
Robert Woodrow Wilson: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/23/Robert_Wilson_%2828215880301%29_%28cropped%29.jpg/330px-Robert_Wilson_%2828215880301%29_%28cropped%29.jpg
Vera Rubin: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6c/Vera_Rubin.jpg
Carolyn Porco: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d2/Carolyn_C._Porco_07.jpg/270px-Carolyn_C._Porco_07.jpg