Famous 17th Century Astronomers

Find out more about the greatest 17th Century Astronomers, including Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Robert Hooke, Christiaan Huygens and Christopher Wren.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 17th Century Astronomers

 1 
Galileo Galilei
(Astronomer)

Galileo Galilei
118
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
8
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
9
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
(Astronomer)

Edmond Halley
6
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
4
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
4
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.

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 8 
Ole Rømer
(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. 

Henry Percy, 9th Earl of Northumberland
4
Birthdate: April 27, 1564
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tynemouth Castle, Northumberland, England

 10 
Ferdinand Verbiest
(Missionary)

Ferdinand Verbiest
3
Birthdate: October 9, 1623
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pittem, Belgium
Died: January 28, 1688

 11 
Nicolas Fatio de Duillier
(Astronomer, Mathematician)

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 
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.

 13 
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.

 14 
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

 15 
Xu Guangqi
(Mathematician, Astronomer, Politician)

Xu Guangqi
3
Birthdate: April 24, 1562
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Shanghai, Songjiang, Southern Zhili, China
Died: November 8, 1633

 16 
Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
(Physicist, Mathematician, Astronomer, Historian of mathematics, Entomologist)

Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
3
Birthdate: January 28, 1608
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Naples
Died: December 31, 1679

While he matriculated in math and taught the subject later, Giovanni Alfonso Borelli also made pioneering discoveries as a physicist and physiologist. With works such as De Motu Animalium, he revolutionized the field of biomechanics, explaining muscular movements with the help of statics and dynamics.

 17 
James Gregory
(mathematician, astronomer, inventor,university teacher)

James Gregory
3
Birthdate: January 28, 1608, 1638
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Drumoak
Died: September 30, 1675

James Gregory was a Scottish astronomer and mathematician. A celebrated mathematician, Gregory served as a professor of mathematics in several institutions like the University of Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews. He is also remembered for publishing several books, including Optica Promota, which describes Gregory's design for a reflecting telescope which came to be known as the Gregorian telescope.

 18 
Jean Richer
(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.

 19 
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

 20 

Christoph Scheiner
3
Birthdate: July 25, 1573
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Holy Roman Empire
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 

Pieter van Musschenbroek
2
Birthdate: March 14, 1692
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Leiden, Netherlands
Died: September 19, 1761

Dutch physicist and mathematician Pieter van Musschenbroek is remembered for introducing the principle of the Leyden jar. He also taught at several universities. Born to an instrument maker, he initially studied medicine but later also focused on philosophy. He made pioneering contributions to tribology.

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. 

 23 
Edmund Gunter
(Mathematician)

Edmund Gunter
3
Birthdate: 1581 AD
Birthplace: Hertfordshire, England
Died: December 10, 1626

 24 

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.

 25 
Baha' al-din al-'Amili
(islamic Scholar)

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.

Sophia Brahe
3
Birthdate: 0000 AD

 27 
John Hadley
(Mathematician)

John Hadley
2
Birthdate: April 16, 1682
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bloomsbury, London, England
Died: February 14, 1744

 28 
Jacques Cassini
(Astronomer)

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.

 29 
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

 30 
Edward Bernard
(astronomer)

Edward Bernard
1
Birthdate: 1638 AD
Birthplace: Paulerspury, Northamptonshire
Died: January 12, 1697

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.

 32 
Thomas Brattle
(Merchant)

Thomas Brattle
1
Birthdate: June 20, 1658
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 18, 1713

American merchant, mathematician, astronomer, and traveller Thomas Brattle is best known for his participation in the Salem Witch Trials and in formation of the Brattle Street Church. A member of the Royal Society, Brattle and his younger brother William improved Harvard College, where he often donated money and served as treasurer and as an unofficial professor of astronomy and mathematics.

 33 
John Greaves
(Mathematician, astronomer, and antiquary)

John Greaves
1
Birthdate: 1602 AD
Birthplace: Colemore, United Kingdom
Died: October 8, 1652

 34 

Joseph-Nicolas Delisle
1
Birthdate: April 4, 1688
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 11, 1768

French astronomer Joseph-Nicolas Delisle is best known for inventing the temperature scale known as the Delisle scale. He also studied the rings of Saturn and spent 22 years in Russia, training budding astronomers there. He also suggested a collaborative effort of scientists to study the 1761 transit of Venus.

 35 
Johannes Fabricius
(Astronomer)

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.

 36 
Minggantu
(Astronomer)

Minggantu
1
Birthdate: 1692 AD
Birthplace: Inner Mongolia, China
Died: 1763 AD

 37 
Niccolò Zucchi
(Astronomer)

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.  

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. 

 39 
Samuel Molyneux
(Astronomer)

Samuel Molyneux
0
Birthdate: July 16, 1689
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chester, England
Died: April 13, 1728

 40 
John Bainbridge
(Astronomer)

John Bainbridge
1
Birthdate: 1582 AD
Birthplace: Ashby-de-la-Zouch, England
Died: November 3, 1643

 41 

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. 

 42 
Mei Juecheng
(Politician)

Mei Juecheng
0
Birthdate: May 19, 1681
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Xuancheng, China
Died: November 20, 1763

 43 
Mei Wending
(Writer)

Mei Wending
0
Birthdate: 1633 AD
Birthplace: Xuancheng, China
Died: 1721 AD

 44 
Zhi zao Li
(Mathematician)

Zhi zao Li
1
Birthdate: 1565 AD
Birthplace: Hangzhou, China
Died: December 1, 1630