Famous American Astronomers

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W.A. Ward’s quote ‘curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning’ best defines man’s urge to know his surroundings and universe better. Ever since the field of science has evolved, scientists and astronomers have constantly struggled to understand the universe better. Over the centuries, many theories and calculations have resulted in a geocentric view of the space. From believing Milky Way as the only galaxy present in the universe to coming to terms with the presence of more than billion galaxies, the understanding of the universe has only bettered with time, thanks to the famous astronomers who dedicated their life to the study of cosmos. Every country has had a long list of astronomers who have significantly contributed through their discoveries and findings. Talking about American astronomers, they have greatly contributed right from the early days of astronomy to the modern era. Some of them include William K Hartmann, Edwin Hubble, Carl Sagan, Harlow Shapley, James Bauer, Frank Drake, Walter Sydney Adams and so on. Their findings and discoveries have helped educate people about the universe they live in. Update yourself by discovering interesting facts about the life and works of famous American astronomers.
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 1 
Neil deGrasse Tyson
(American Astrophysicist, Planetary Scientist and Science Communicator)
Neil deGrasse Tyson
14
Birthdate: October 5, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States

Public Welfare Medal-winning astrophysicist and academic Neil deGrasse Tyson hosted shows such as NOVA ScienceNow, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, and Star Talk. He is the director of Hayden Planetarium and contributed to the dismissal of Pluto’s status as the ninth planet. He has also written a monthly column as "Merlin.”

 2 
Carl Sagan
(Astronomer and Planetary Scientist Best Known for His Scientific Contribution in Research on Extraterrestrial Life)
Carl Sagan
9
Birthdate: November 9, 1934
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: December 20, 1996
Pulitzer- and Emmy-winning astrophysicist and author Carl Sagan was best known for co-writing the TV series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. His novel Contact was adapted into a film. He was known for his extensive research on extra-terrestrial life, had taught at major universities, and written countless papers and science books.
 3 
Edwin Powell Hubble
(American Astronomer Who is Regarded as the Leading Observational Cosmologist of the 20th Century)
Edwin Powell Hubble
5
Birthdate: November 20, 1889
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Marshfield, Missouri, United States
Died: September 28, 1953

While the Hubble Telescope, named after Edwin Powell Hubble, reminds one of his contribution to astronomy, he failed to get a Nobel Prize, as back in his time, the Nobel Committee didn’t recognize astrophysics as a valid science. He is best remembered for his work on galaxies and extragalactic astronomy.

 4 
Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin
(Astronomer, Astrophysicist)
Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin
6
Birthdate: May 10, 1900
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Wendover, Buckinghamshire, England
Died: December 7, 1979

After losing her father at 4, Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin was raised singlehandedly by her mother. The incredibly talented Cecilia studied at Cambridge but failed to secure a degree because of her gender. She later joined Harvard and opposing prevalent beliefs, proposed that stars were mainly made of hydrogen and helium. 

 5 
Clyde Tombaugh
(Astronomer, University teacher)
Clyde Tombaugh
6
Birthdate: February 4, 1906
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Streator
Died: January 17, 1997

Though he wasn’t formally educated in astronomy, Clyde Tombaugh was immensely interested in the subject since childhood and had built his own telescope after high school. He grew up to discover Pluto, then regarded as the ninth planet but later declared a "dwarf planet," and many other celestial bodies.

 6 
Benjamin Banneker
(Compiler of Almanacs)
Benjamin Banneker
4
Birthdate: November 9, 1731
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Baltimore County
Died: October 9, 1806

Benjamin Banneker was born to a free African-American mother and a former slave father, and was largely self-educated. While he showed immense talent in both mathematics and astronomy, having predicted a solar eclipse with precision, he also wrote essays on civil rights and rallied against slavery.

 7 
Annie Jump Cannon
(Astronomer)
Annie Jump Cannon
5
Birthdate: December 11, 1863
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dover
Died: April 13, 1941

After studying physics and astronomy at Wellesley College, Annie Jump Cannon traveled across Europe and focused on photography for a decade, before venturing to study astronomy again. At the Harvard Observatory, she made a considerable contribution to the classification of stellar bodies. She was almost deaf due to scarlet fever.

 8 
J. Allen Hynek
(Astronomer, Ufologist)
J. Allen Hynek
4
Birthdate: May 1, 1910
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: April 27, 1986

When the American government, baffled by unexplained sightings of flying objects, assigned J. Allen Hynek the task of solving the mystery, Hynek was sceptical. However, he later became the first person to scientifically analyze such sightings. He also established the "Close Encounter" classification system to study UFOs.

 9 
Frank Drake
(American astronomer)
Frank Drake
3
Birthdate: May 28, 1930
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois

American astronomer and astrophysicist Frank Drake is best-known for developing Drake equation and for his involvement in search for extraterrestrial intelligence, including founding of modern SETI. He performed Project Ozma, the first SETI experiment for searching signs of life in distant planetary systems. He also designed content of Arecibo message, an interstellar radio message, sent to globular star cluster M13.

 10 
Vera Rubin
(American Astronomer Known for Her Pioneering Work on Galaxy Rotation Rates)
Vera Rubin
5
Birthdate: July 23, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: December 25, 2016

American astronomer Vera Rubin is best known for her pioneering discoveries on galaxy rotation rates, her groundbreaking work confirming the existence of dark matter and for her life-long advocacy for women in science. She studied the galactic rotation curves and provided strong evidence of the existence of dark matter. The Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile is named after her.

 11 
Henrietta Swan Leavitt
4
Birthdate: July 4, 1868
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Lancaster, Massachusetts
Died: December 12, 1921

Born to a church minister, Henrietta Swan Leavitt grew up to work as a “human computer” at the Harvard Observatory. The American astronomer gained fame for discovering the period-luminosity relation of Cepheid variables. However, her brilliant scientific career was halted by her death due to stomach cancer at 53.

 12 
Harlow Shapley
(Former astronomer known for determining correct position of Sun within Milky Way Galaxy; head of Harvard College Observatory (1921–1952))
Harlow Shapley
3
Birthdate: November 2, 1885
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nashville, Missouri, United States
Died: October 20, 1972

American scientist Harlow Shapley is best-remembered for ascertaining correct position of Sun within Milky Way Galaxy and for heading the Harvard College Observatory. He determined the size and shape of the Milky Way Galaxy and the Sun’s position within it using the Cepheid variable stars and wrote the Liquid Water Belt that provided scientific acceptance to Hubertus Strughold’s ecosphere theory.

 13 
Eugene Merle Shoemaker
(American Geologist Best Known for Co-Discovering the 'Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9')
Eugene Merle Shoemaker
3
Birthdate: April 28, 1928
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: July 18, 1997

Best known for discovering the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet, with his wife, Carolyn, and David H. Levy, Eugene Merle Shoemaker was an American astrogeologist who had also worked with the U.S. Geological Survey. He had been part of NASA’s lunar exploration missions. Following his death, his ashes were transported to the Moon.

 14 
David Rittenhouse
(American Astronomer, Inventor, Clockmaker and Mathematician)
David Rittenhouse
4
Birthdate: April 8, 1732
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: June 26, 1796

American astronomer, inventor, mathematician, clockmaker and surveyor David Rittenhouse, who served as first director of the United States Mint and remained a  member of the American Philosophical Society, made several significant breakthroughs for the US. His achievements include discovering the atmosphere of Venus and observing its transit, becoming the first American to sight Uranus, and completing an advanced orrery.

 15 
Williamina Fleming
(Scottish Astronomer Famous for Her Discovery of the 'Horsehead Nebula')
Williamina Fleming
3
Birthdate: May 15, 1857
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dundee, Scotland
Died: May 21, 1911

Born in Scotland, Williamina Fleming moved to the U.S. with her husband, where she began working as a housekeeper for Harvard Observatory director Edward C. Pickering. Pickering secured her a job at the observatory, and Fleming went on to establish a classification and cataloguing system for stars.

 16 
Max Tegmark
(Physicist, Astronomer, Astrophysicist)
Max Tegmark
4
Birthdate: May 5, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sweden

Born to math professor Harold S. Shapiro, Max Tegmark grew up to co-establish the Future of Life Institute, with funding from Elon Musk. The MIT professor is a specialist in cosmology, physics, and machine learning and had also penned a book on artificial intelligence, titled Life 3.0.

 17 
Percival Lowell
(Astronomer, Mathematician)
Percival Lowell
3
Birthdate: March 13, 1855
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Boston
Died: November 12, 1916

Born into the famous Brahmin Lowell family of Massachusetts, Percival Lowell studied at Harvard, where he excelled in math. He managed a cotton mill and also spent time in Asia as a diplomat. He is best remembered for initiating the discovery of Pluto and for studying the canals on Mars.

 18 
Matthew Fontaine Maury
(American Astronomer, Oceanographer, Meteorologist, Geologist and Naval Officer)
Matthew Fontaine Maury
3
Birthdate: January 14, 1806
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Spotsylvania County, Virginia, United States
Died: February 1, 1873

American astronomer, naval officer, oceanographer and author Matthew Fontaine Maury, who first served the United States Navy and then the Confederacy States Navy, made significant contributions in oceanography. His book Physical Geography of the Sea is counted among the first comprehensive books on oceanography. Navies and merchant marines across the world adopted his uniform system of recording oceanographic data.

 19 
Michael E. Brown
(Astronomer)
Michael E. Brown
3
Birthdate: June 5, 1965
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Huntsville
Princeton and UCB alumnus and Caltech professor Michael E. Brown is credited with discovering many "dwarf planets" and was the man behind Pluto’s demotion from a planet to a "dwarf planet." Named to Wired Online's 2006 list of the Top Ten Sexiest Geeks, he has also authored a bestselling memoir.
 20 
Lawrence M. Krauss
(Astronomer, Physicist, Astrophysicist, Academic, Non-fiction writer, University teacher, Theoretical physicist)
Lawrence M. Krauss
3
Birthdate: May 27, 1954
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City

American-Canadian theoretical physicist Lawrence M. Krauss has taught at institutes such as ASU and Yale and also penned several bestselling books. Known for his research on dark energy and zero-energy states, he was later accused of sexual misconduct and thus lost the directorship of the ASU’s Origins Project.

 21 
Maria Mitchell
(Astronomer)
Maria Mitchell
3
Birthdate: August 1, 1818
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nantucket
Died: June 28, 1889
Maria Mitchell was motivated by her amateur astronomer father to venture into astronomy, and he taught her to operate several astronomical instruments. She later grew up to be America’s first professional female astronomer and is best remembered for discovering the comet 1847 VI, also known as Miss Mitchell's Comet.
 22 
Amy Mainzer
(American Astronomer Specializing in Astrophysical Instrumentation and Infrared Astronomy)
Amy Mainzer
4
Birthdate: January 2, 1974
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mansfield, Ohio, United States

Astronomer Amy Mainzer has been associated with NASA's NEOWISE mission and specializes in asteroid detection. The Stanford and Caltech alumna now teaches at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory of the University of Arizona and has also appeared on the History Channel series The Universe and in several documentaries.

 23 
Valerie Thomas
(scientist and inventor)
Valerie Thomas
3
Birthdate: 1943 AD
Birthplace: Maryland, United States
After becoming one of the two female students in her university class to graduate in physics, Valerie Thomas joined NASA as a data analyst. While she oversaw the Landsat program, she is best remembered for inventing the illusion transmitter, which helped project a 3D optical illusion using concave mirrors.
Michelle Thaller
3
Birthplace: Waukesha

Apart from being the assistant director of science at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, astronomer Michelle Thaller also appears on shows such as The Universe on the History Channel. The Harvard alumna has also worked with Caltech. Apparently, Carl Sagan’s Cosmos had pushed her to study astronomy at 10.

 25 
Samuel Langley
(American Aviation Pioneer, Astronomer and Physicist Known for Inventing 'Bolometer')
Samuel Langley
2
Birthdate: August 22, 1834
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Roxbury, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: February 27, 1906

Astrophysicist Samuel Pierpont Langley had worked as an engineer before he taught physics and astronomy at the Western University of Pennsylvania. He later took over as the director of the Allegheny Observatory. He is best remembered for his research on solar radiation and for inventing the bolometer.

 26 
George Ellery Hale
(Astronomer, Journalist)
George Ellery Hale
3
Birthdate: June 29, 1868
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chicago
Died: February 21, 1938

George Ellery Hale was an American solar astronomer. He discovered magnetic fields in sunspots, a discovery that gained him international fame. He played key roles in the planning or construction of several world-leading telescopes, including the 40-inch refracting telescope at Yerkes Observatory. He was a major figure in the foundation of the International Union for Cooperation in Solar Research. 

 

 27 
Simon Newcomb
(Astronomer, Mathematician, Economist, Novelist, Writer, Teacher, University teacher, Science fiction writer)
Simon Newcomb
3
Birthdate: March 12, 1835
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Nova Scotia
Died: July 11, 1909

Initially a herbalist’s apprentice, Simon Newcomb later deviated to mathematics and astronomy. Born to a schoolteacher, he had loved math since age 5 but wasn’t formally educated. He later joined Harvard University, taught math at the US Navy, detected locations of celestial bodies, and wrote a science-fiction novel, too.

 28 
Nathaniel Bowditch
(Mathematician, Astronomer, Actuary, Physicist, Sailor)
Nathaniel Bowditch
3
Birthdate: March 26, 1773
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Salem
Died: March 16, 1838

At 10, Nathaniel Bowditch was forced to quit studies due to poverty and started working, first at his father’s shop and then as a clerk in other shops. During his voyages in merchant ships, he discovered his love for math. He later redefined maritime navigation with his mathematical research.

 29 
Robert Woodrow Wilson
(Physicist, Astronomer)
Robert Woodrow Wilson
4
Birthdate: January 10, 1936
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Houston, Texas, United States
 30 
Eric W. Weisstein
(Mathematician, Astronomer, Non-fiction writer)
Eric W. Weisstein
3
Birthdate: March 18, 1969
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bloomington

Famous for creating and maintaining MathWorld, the most widely accessed internet site for mathematical resources, Eric W. Weisstein is an encyclopedist who began compiling scientific encyclopedias as a high school student. Author of the bestselling book, CRC Concise Encyclopedia of Mathematics, he is also credited with creating ScienceWorld website.

 31 
Carolyn S. Shoemaker
(American Astronomer and a Co-discoverer of Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9)
Carolyn S. Shoemaker
3
Birthdate: June 24, 1929
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Gallup, New Mexico, United States
Died: August 13, 2021

Carolyn S. Shoemaker is an American astronomer best known as a co-discoverer of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. A prolific discoverer of comets, she once held the record for most comets discovered by an individual. She was married to geologist Eugene Shoemaker and often collaborated with him. The couple was awarded the James Craig Watson Medal in 1998. 

 32 
Karl Gordon Henize
(Astronomer, Astronaut, Scientist)
Karl Gordon Henize
3
Birthdate: October 17, 1926
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cincinnati
Died: October 5, 1993

Karl Gordon Henize was a space scientist and astronaut who authored seventy papers on astronomy. He was posted at various observatories round the world. Later on, he joined NASA as scientist-astronaut and flew on space shuttle Challenger as a mission specialist.

 33 
Vesto Slipher
(Astronomer)
Vesto Slipher
3
Birthdate: November 11, 1875
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mulberry
Died: November 8, 1969

Vesto Slipher was an American astronomer who was the first to discover that distant galaxies are redshifted and also the first to relate these redshifts to velocity. He also performed the first measurements of radial velocities for galaxies. He completed his doctorate at Indiana University and spent his entire career at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. 

 34 
Jan Davis
(Astronaut)
Jan Davis
4
Birthdate: November 1, 1953
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Cocoa Beach, Florida, United States

Former American astronaut Jan Davis logged over 673 hours and 11 million miles in space and orbited the earth 445 times during her three Space Shuttle flights, STS-47, STS-60, STS-85. She worked for NASA for over two decades and thereafter served as a Vice President and Deputy General Manager for Jacobs Engineering Group. She presently works for Bastion Technologies, Inc.

 35 
Geoffrey Marcy
(Astronomer, Physicist, University teacher)
Geoffrey Marcy
3
Birthdate: September 29, 1954
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: St. Clair Shores

American astronomer Geoffrey Marcy is best known for his use of Doppler shifts in discovering many extrasolar planets, which paved way for discovery of several hundred planetary bodies in multiple star systems. Seventy of the first hundred known exoplanets were discovered by Marcy and his research teams, who also detected the first planetary system around a Sun-like star, Upsilon Andromedae

 36 
Gerard K. O'Neill
(American Physicist and Space Activist Known for Inventing the 'Particle Storage Ring')
Gerard K. O'Neill
3
Birthdate: February 6, 1927
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: April 27, 1992

American physicist and space activist Gerard K. O'Neill is noted for inventing the particle storage ring for high-energy physics experiments and for proposing and advocating colonization of space. He proposed the space settlement concept O'Neill cylinder in his award-winning book The High Frontier: Human Colonies in Space, invented a magnetic launcher called mass driver and founded the Space Studies Institute.

 37 
Karl Guthe Jansky
(American Physicist, Radio Engineer and One of the Founding Figures of 'Radio Astronomy')
Karl Guthe Jansky
3
Birthdate: October 22, 1905
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Norman, Oklahoma, United States
Died: February 14, 1950

Karl Guthe Jansky was an American physicist and radio engineer. He first discovered radio waves emanating from the Milky Way in August 1931. However, due to his lack of formal training as an astronomer, research into radio astronomy remained dormant for many years. Later on, he came to be widely regarded as one of the founding figures of radio astronomy. 

 38 
Lyman Spitzer
(Astronomer, Astrophysicist, Physicist, University teacher)
Lyman Spitzer
3
Birthdate: June 26, 1914
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Toledo
Died: March 31, 1997

Lyman Spitzer was an American theoretical physicist, mountaineer, and astronomer. He was known for his research into star formation and plasma physics. He is credited with the invention of the stellarator plasma device and he was the one who first conceived the idea of telescopes operating in outer space. He was a founding member of the World Cultural Council. 

 39 
Margaret Burbidge
(British-American Observational Astronomer and Astrophysicist Known for Her Contributions to the Theory of ‘Quasars')
Margaret Burbidge
3
Birthdate: August 12, 1919
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Davenport, Stockport, England
Died: April 5, 2020

Margaret Burbidge was a British-American observational astronomer and astrophysicist. She was the first author of the influential B2FH paper and one of the founders of stellar nucleosynthesis. She held several leadership and administrative posts and was well known for her work opposing discrimination against women in astronomy. In 1988, she was awarded the Albert Einstein World Award of Science. 

 40 
Seth Shostak
(Astronomer, Radio personality)
Seth Shostak
3
Birthdate: July 20, 1943
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Mountain View

Best known as a senior astronomer of the SETI Institute, Seth Shostak has also been seen on the radio show Big Picture Science. He has also appeared as himself or as an astronomer in numerous films and TV series such as The Day the Earth Stood Still and Alien Encounters.

 41 
Robert H. Dicke
(American Astronomer and Physicist Known for Inventing 'Lock-in Amplifier')
Robert H. Dicke
2
Birthdate: May 6, 1916
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: March 4, 1997

American astronomer and Princeton University physicist Robert H. Dicke is best known for making significant contributions in the fields of atomic physics, astrophysics, gravity and cosmology. He designed and introduced the Dicke radiometer, the most common form of microwave radiometer; developed the Brans–Dicke theory of gravitation with Carl H. Brans; and is generally believed to have invented the lock-in amplifier.

 42 
Robert Jastrow
(American Astronomer and Planetary Physicist)
Robert Jastrow
2
Birthdate: September 7, 1925
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: February 8, 2008

NASA scientist Robert Jastrow had also taught at Yale and Dartmouth College but is best remembered for establishing NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and serving as its director. Apart from his research on astronomy and planetary science, he had hosted countless CBS-TV programs on space science.

 43 
Allan Sandage
(Astronomer)
Allan Sandage
2
Birthdate: June 18, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Iowa City, Iowa, United States
Died: November 13, 2010

Considered to be one of the most influential astronomers of the 20th century, Allan Rex Sandage is credited with determining the first reasonably accurate value of Hubble’s constant and the age of the universe, a work he began while serving as a graduate student assistant to cosmologist Edwin Hubble. Later, he also made significant contributions to quasi-stellar radio sources.

 44 
Guy Consolmagno
(Astronomer, School teacher, Writer, Planetary scientist)
Guy Consolmagno
3
Birthdate: September 19, 1952
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Detroit
 45 
Henry Norris Russell
2
Birthdate: October 25, 1877
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Town of Oyster Bay, New York
Died: February 18, 1957

Astronomer Henry Norris Russell is best remembered for his efforts in making physics the core of astrophysical science. The Princeton alumnus later taught at his alma and became the director of the Princeton University Observatory. He also contributed to the Russell–Saunders coupling and the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram.

 46 
Asaph Hall
(American astronomer)
Asaph Hall
2
Birthdate: October 15, 1829
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Goshen
Died: November 22, 1907

Asaph Hall was born into a poor family of a clockmaker, and after losing his father, he began working as a carpenter’s apprentice. His talent in mathematics earned him a position at the Harvard College Observatory, and he ended up discovering the two moons of Mars, Deimos and Phobos.

 47 
John Dobson
(Astronomer)
John Dobson
2
Birthdate: September 14, 1915
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Beijing, China
Died: January 15, 2014

Known as the "Pied Piper of Astronomy" or the "Star Monk," amateur astronomer John Dobson created a low-cost Newtonian telescope, known as the Dobsonian telescope. Born in China, Dobson later moved to the U.S., where he spent 23 years at the Vedanta Monastery, following which he promoted astronomy and cosmology.

 48 
Edward Emerson Barnard
(American astronomer)
Edward Emerson Barnard
2
Birthdate: December 16, 1857
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Nashville
Died: February 6, 1923

Having lost his father a few months before his birth, Edward Emerson Barnard struggled with poverty and missed out on formal education, but realized his passion for photography quite early in life. Remembered as a pioneer of celestial photography, he discovered countless comets and celestial bodies, including the Barnard’s star.

 49 
Edward Charles Pickering
(American Astronomer and Physicist Known for Discovering the First 'Spectroscopic Binary Stars')
Edward Charles Pickering
2
Birthdate: July 19, 1846
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: February 3, 1919

Astronomer and physicist Edward Charles Pickering was the man behind the first physics lab in the U.S. during his tenure as an MIT professor. Apart from inventing the meridian photometer and releasing the first photometric catalog, Harvard Photometry, he had also served as the director of the Harvard College Observatory.

 50 
Otto Struve
(Astronomer)
Otto Struve
2
Birthdate: August 12, 1897
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kharkiv, Ukraine
Died: April 6, 1963

Born into the famous Russian astronomer Struve family, Otto Struve began his career in the USA as a staff member at Yerkes Observatory, investigating stellar spectroscopy. Later, he focused mainly on binary and variable stars, stellar rotation and interstellar matter. He established the presence of hydrogen in interstellar space, a discovery that played significant part in the development of radio astronomy.