Famous 17th Century Astronomers

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 1 
Galileo Galilei
(Known as “Father” of Observational Astronomy who Invented the ‘Thermoscope’ and Various Military Compasses)
Galileo Galilei
128
Birthdate: February 15, 1564
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pisa, Italy
Died: January 8, 1642

An Italian astronomer, engineer, and physicist, Galileo Galilei is widely regarded as the father of observational astronomy, the father of the scientific method, the father of modern physics, and the father of modern science. He is credited with popularizing the telescope, which changed the course of history.

 2 
Johannes Kepler
(Astronomer Best Known for his Laws of Plantery Motion)
Johannes Kepler
11
Birthdate: December 27, 1571
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Weil der Stadt, Germany
Died: November 15, 1630

This 17th-century German mathematician, astronomer, and astrologer is remembered for his pathbreaking work on optics. He invented a developed version of the refracting telescope. He also laid down Kepler's laws of planetary motion and wrote Astronomia Nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae.

 3 
Christiaan Huygens
(Mathematician, Physicist)
Christiaan Huygens
12
Birthdate: April 14, 1629
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: The Hague, Netherlands
Died: July 8, 1695

From proposing the wave theory of light to discovering the actual shape of the rings of Saturn and inventing the pendulum clock, Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens had contributed a lot to science. Born to a diplomat, Huygens had the privilege of an elite education but remain sickly throughout his life.

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 4 
Edmond Halley
(Mathematician known for Calculating the Orbit of a Comet & Was the Second Astronomer Royal in Britain)
Edmond Halley
10
Birthdate: November 8, 1656
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Haggerston, London, England
Died: January 14, 1742

Edmond Halley was an English astronomer and mathematician who was mainly concerned with practical applications of science. He abandoned college education to travel to St. Helena. He published catalogue of 341 southern stars with telescopically determined locations. Known for his wide range of interest, he helped Newton to publish his magnum opus,  Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica. He used Newton's Law of Motion to compute periodicty of Halley’s Comet.

 5 
Giovanni Domenico Cassini
(Astronomer and Mathematician)
Giovanni Domenico Cassini
5
Birthdate: June 8, 1625
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Perinaldo, Italy
Died: September 14, 1712
Italian-French mathematician and astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini is best remembered for his discovery of four moons of Saturn, the computation of Jupiter’s rotational period, and the observation of the Cassini Division, or the gap between Saturn’s rings. King Louis XIV made him a member of the Académie des Sciences
 6 
Robert Hooke
(Philosopher)
Robert Hooke
5
Birthdate: July 28, 1635
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Freshwater, Isle of Wight
Died: March 3, 1703

Scientist Robert Hooke, also called England's Leonardo, initially gained recognition as an architect, conducting surveys following the Great Fire of London. He also taught geometry and was part of the Royal Society. He assisted Robert Boyle and eventually developed his own microscope, thus becoming the first to visualize micro-organisms.

 7 
Sir Christopher Wren
4
Birthdate: October 20, 1632
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: East Knoyle
Died: February 25, 1723

Architect Sir Christopher Wren had built over 50 churches in London, the most popular of them being the St. Paul’s Cathedral. He was a major force behind the formation of the Royal Society and was also knighted for his achievements. He was also a member of the English Parliament.

 8 
Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland
(Nobleman)
Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland
4
Birthdate: April 27, 1564
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tynemouth Castle, Northumberland, England
 9 
Ole Rømer
(Danish Astronomer)
Ole Rømer
6
Birthdate: September 25, 1644
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Aarhus, Denmark
Died: September 19, 1710

Ole Rømer was a Danish astronomer known for making the first quantitative measurements of the speed of light in 1676. Born into a wealthy family where his interest in mathematics and astronomy were encouraged, he went on to study at the University of Copenhagen. He had a high-profile career and was employed by the French government under King Louis XIV. 

 10 
Pierre Gassendi
(Philosopher, Mathematician, Astronomer, Professor, Astrologer)
Pierre Gassendi
4
Birthdate: January 22, 1592
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Champtercier
Died: October 24, 1655

French Catholic priest and astronomer Pierre Gassendi is remembered for his efforts to reconcile atomism with Christian ideals and for his anti-Aristotelianism. His studies included research on Epicurean philosophy. Apart from observing the transit of Mercury, he also studied the speed of sound and horizontal momentum.

 11 
Nicolas Fatio de Duillier
(Swiss Mathematician and Astronomer)
Nicolas Fatio de Duillier
3
Birthdate: February 26, 1664
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
Died: May 10, 1753

A close associate of Isaac Newton, Swiss mathematician Nicolas Fatio de Duillier, was, according to many, the reason for Newton’s nervous breakdown after they fell apart. He is best remembered for co-discovering the phenomenon of zodiacal light and for inventing the shadow theory of gravitation.

 12 
Ferdinand Verbiest
(Dutch Jesuit Missionary Who Was Influential in China during the Qing Dynasty)
Ferdinand Verbiest
3
Birthdate: October 9, 1623
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pittem, Belgium
Died: January 28, 1688

Dutch Jesuit missionary and astronomer Ferdinand Verbiest had a huge influence in China during the reign of the Qing dynasty. Also known as Nan Huairen, he advised the Chinese emperor in significant matters and also worked as a translator and a cartographer. He penned several books and knew many languages.

 13 
Eusebio Kino
(Italian Jesuit, Missionary, Explorer, Mathematician and Astronomer)
Eusebio Kino
3
Birthdate: August 10, 1645
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Predaia, Italy
Died: March 15, 1711

Eusebio Kino was a Tyrolean missionary, explorer, geographer, astronomer, and cartographer. Nicknamed Father Kino for his missionary work, Eusebio worked closely with the indigenous Native American people, including the Sobaipuri, Tohono O'Odham, and other Upper Piman populations, as part of his exploration. He also led an overland expedition in the Baja California Peninsula, proving that it is not an island.

 14 
Johannes Hevelius
(Astronomer, Entrepreneur, Cartographer)
Johannes Hevelius
3
Birthdate: January 28, 1611
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gdańsk
Died: January 28, 1687

Johannes Hevelius was an astronomer who is credited with describing 10 new constellations; seven of ten constellations described by him are used by astronomers today. He is also referred to as the founder of lunar topography for making a compilation of an atlas of the moon. He is also credited with making a comprehensive catalog of 1,564 stars.

 15 
Xu Guangqi
(Ming Dynasty Official and One of the Most Prominent Chinese Converts to Christianity)
Xu Guangqi
3
Birthdate: April 24, 1562
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Shanghai, Songjiang, Southern Zhili, China
Died: November 8, 1633

Xu Guangqi, or Paul, was a Chinese official of the Ming dynasty and one of the most prominent Chinese converts before the 20th century. An agronomist, a mathematician, an astronomer, a politician, and an author, he translated many Western works. He was also known as one of the Three Pillars of Chinese Catholicism.

 16 
John Flamsteed
(Astronomer and the first Astronomer Royal)
John Flamsteed
3
Birthdate: August 19, 1646
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Denby, Derbyshire, England
Died: December 31, 1719
 17 
Christopher Clavius
(German Mathematician and Astronomer Who Was the Main Architect of the Modern 'Gregorian Calendar')
Christopher Clavius
3
Birthdate: March 25, 1538
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bamberg, Germany
Died: February 6, 1612

Christopher Clavius was a Jesuit German astronomer and mathematician. Clavius was one of the members of the Vatican commission that gave a green signal to Aloysius Lilius' calendar which came to be known as the Gregorian calendar. He was one of Europe's most respected astronomers; his books were used for over 50 years for astronomical education in and around Europe.

 18 
Jeremiah Horrocks
(Astronomer Who Predicted the Transit of Venus of 1639)
Jeremiah Horrocks
2
Birthdate: 1618 AD
Birthplace: Toxteth Park, Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died: January 3, 1641
 19 
Jean Richer
(French Astronomer)
Jean Richer
1
Birthdate: 1630 AD
Birthplace: France
Died: 1696 AD

Known for his celestial observations and experiments carried out in Cayenne, Jean Richer was a French astronomer, whose works brought about a revolution in the field of astronomy, helping to determine the distances between Earth and Mars, and between Earth and Sun. In addition, they also established that the Earth is actually an oblate spheroid, not sphere, as was believed.

 20 
Christoph Scheiner
(German Jesuit Priest, Physicist and Astronomer)
Christoph Scheiner
3
Birthdate: July 25, 1573
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Markt Wald, Germany
Died: June 18, 1650

Christoph Scheiner was a Jesuit priest, astronomer, and physicist. He is credited with inventing the pantograph which he demonstrated in Munich after he was invited by Duke William V of Bavaria. Several schools and streets in Germany are named after him. A lunar crater is also named in his honor.

 21 
Jean Picard
Jean Picard
2
Birthdate: July 21, 1620
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: La Flèche, France
Died: July 12, 1682

Jean Picard was a 17th-century French astronomer. He is known for being the first person to measure the size of the Earth to a reasonable degree of accuracy. He was also the first to attach a telescope with crosswires to a quadrant. He is credited with developing the standard method for measuring the right ascension of a celestial object. 

 22 
Maria Margaretha Kirch
(German Astronomer Who was the First Woman to Discover a Comet)
Maria Margaretha Kirch
2
Birthdate: February 25, 1670
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Leipzig, Germany
Died: December 29, 1720

Born to a Lutheran minister, Maria Margaretha Kirch was educated at par with boys of her age, which wasn’t the norm back then. She later became the first woman astronomer to discover a comet. The German astronomer also received accolades such as the Gold Medal of the Royal Academy of Sciences.

 23 
Edmund Gunter
(Mathematician)
Edmund Gunter
3
Birthdate: 1581 AD
Birthplace: Hertfordshire, England
Died: December 10, 1626
 24 
Baha' al-din al-'Amili
(Iranian Mathematician, Theologian, Philosopher and Astronomers)
Baha' al-din al-'Amili
3
Birthdate: February 18, 1547
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Baalbek, Lebanon
Died: September 1, 1621

Baha' al-din al-'Amili was an Arab Iranian Shia philosopher, Islamic scholar, architect, astronomer, mathematician, and poet who flourished in Safavid Iran during the late 16th and early 17th century. Baha' al-din al-'Amili was one of the first astronomers in the Islamic world to advocate the possibility of the Earth's movement before the outspread of the Copernican theory.

 25 
Sophia Brahe
Sophia Brahe
3
 26 
John Hadley
(Mathematician)
John Hadley
2
Birthdate: April 16, 1682
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bloomsbury, London, England
Died: February 14, 1744
 27 
Jacques Cassini
(French Astronomer Who Compiled the First Tables of the Orbital Motions of Saturn’s Satellites)
Jacques Cassini
2
Birthdate: February 18, 1677
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: April 16, 1756

Born to astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini, the director of the Paris Conservatory, Jacques Cassini, too, followed in his father’s footsteps. He opposed Sir Isaac Newton’s theory of gravity and released the preliminary tables of the satellites of Saturn. He also helped measure the longitude line between Dunkerque and Perpignan.

 28 
Jacob Bruce
(Astronomer who founded the first Russian observatory; it was located in Moscow in the upper story of the Sukharev Tower)
Jacob Bruce
2
Birthdate: May 11, 1669
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Moscow, Russia
Died: May 17, 1735
 29 
Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc
(French Astronomer Who Discovered the ‘Orion Nebula’ (1610))
Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc
2
Birthdate: December 1, 1580
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Belgentier, France
Died: June 24, 1637

The son of an affluent surgeon from Provence, Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc grew up to be a famous astronomer, known mostly for his research on longitudes. He is also remembered for discovering the Orion Nebula and owned a huge collection of coins, which he used to study history.

 30 
Edward Bernard
(astronomer)
Edward Bernard
1
Birthdate: 1638 AD
Birthplace: Paulerspury, Northamptonshire
Died: January 12, 1697
 31 
John Greaves
(Mathematician, astronomer, and antiquary)
John Greaves
1
Birthdate: 1602 AD
Birthplace: Colemore, United Kingdom
Died: October 8, 1652
 32 
Minggantu
(Astronomer)
Minggantu
1
Birthdate: 1692 AD
Birthplace: Inner Mongolia, China
Died: 1763 AD
 33 
Johannes Fabricius
(German Astronomer and a Discoverer of Sunspots)
Johannes Fabricius
2
Birthdate: January 8, 1587
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: East Frisia, Germany
Died: March 19, 1616

Dutch astronomer Johannes Fabricius is credited with being the first to observe sunspots and to write about them. He also finds mention in Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon. Along with his father, astronomer David Fabricius, he used a camera obscura for their celestial explorations.

 34 
Niccolò Zucchi
(Italian Astronomer and Physicist Who Designed One of the Earliest Reflecting Telescopes)
Niccolò Zucchi
2
Birthdate: December 6, 1586
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Parma, Italy
Died: May 21, 1670

Italian Jesuit, astronomer, and physicist Niccolò Zucchi, who reported spots on Mars, may have been, along with fellow Jesuit Daniello Bartoli, the first who spotted belts on planet Jupiter. Zucchi showed that phosphors generate rather than store light in his book Optica philosophia experimentis et ratione a fundamentis constituta, which includes probably the earliest known elucidation of a reflecting telescope.  

 35 
Christen Sørensen Longomontanus
(Danish Astronomer)
Christen Sørensen Longomontanus
2
Birthdate: October 4, 1562
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Jutland, Egtved, Denmark
Died: October 8, 1647

Christen Sørensen Longomontanus was a Danish astronomer best remembered for developing Tycho Brahe's geoheliocentric model of the universe. Brahe's geoheliocentric model, which was also known as the Tychonic system, was widely accepted at that time. Christen Sørensen Longomontanus also published major works in astronomy and mathematics such as Systematis Mathematici and Disputatio de Eclipsibus. 

 36 
Samuel Molyneux
(Astronomer)
Samuel Molyneux
0
Birthdate: July 16, 1689
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chester, England
Died: April 13, 1728
 37 
John Bainbridge
(Astronomer)
John Bainbridge
1
Birthdate: 1582 AD
Birthplace: Ashby-de-la-Zouch, England
Died: November 3, 1643
 38 
Giuseppe Campani
(Italian Optician and Astronomer)
Giuseppe Campani
0
Birthdate: 1635 AD
Birthplace: Sant'Anatolia di Narco, Italy
Died: July 28, 1715

Giuseppe Campani  was an Italian optician and astronomer. He was a highly proficient maker of optical instruments and was counted amongst the best in his profession in his time. He made several long-focus lenses for the astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini on the orders of King Louis XIV of France. As an astronomer, Campani made many observations himself. 

 39 
Domenico Guglielmini
(Italian Mathematician, Astronomer and Physician)
Domenico Guglielmini
0
Birthdate: September 27, 1655
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: July 27, 1710

Domenico Guglielmini is regarded as the pioneer of the Italian school of hydraulics, though he initially worked on astronomy. Apart from being a professor of hydrometry and mathematics, he was also a part-time physician, but eventually quit his research on hydraulics to focus on medicine full-time.

 40 
Mei Juecheng
(Politician)
Mei Juecheng
0
Birthdate: May 19, 1681
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Xuancheng, China
Died: November 20, 1763
 41 
Mei Wending
(Writer)
Mei Wending
0
Birthdate: 1633 AD
Birthplace: Xuancheng, China
Died: 1721 AD
 42 
Zhi zao Li
(Mathematician)
Zhi zao Li
1
Birthdate: 1565 AD
Birthplace: Hangzhou, China
Died: December 1, 1630