Category: Astronomy

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers William Rowan Hamilton

WILLIAM ROWAN HAMILTON was born at midnight between the 3rd and 4th of August, 1805, at Dublin, in the house which was then 29, but subsequently 36, Dominick Street. His father, Archibald Hamilton, was a solicitor, and William was the fourth of a family of nine. With reference to his descent, it may be sufficient […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers William Parsons (3rd Earl of Rosse)

THE subject of our present sketch occupies quite a distinct position in scientific history. Unlike many others who have risen by their scientific discoveries from obscurity to fame, the great Earl of Rosse was himself born in the purple. [1] His father, who, under the title of Sir Lawrence Parsons, had occupied a distinguished position […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers William Herschel

WILLIAM HERSCHEL, one of the greatest astronomers that has ever lived, was born at Hanover, on the 15th November, 1738. His father, Isaac Herschel, was a man evidently of considerable ability, whose life was devoted to the study and practice of music, by which he earned a somewhat precarious maintenance. He had but few worldly […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers Tycho Brahe

The most picturesque figure in the history of astronomy is undoubtedly that of the famous old Danish astronomer whose name stands at the head of this chapter. Tycho Brahe was alike notable for his astronomical genius and for the extraordinary vehemence of a character which was by no means perfect. His romantic career as a […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers Pierre-Simon Laplace

THE author of the “Mecanique Celeste” was born at Beaumont-en-Auge, near Honfleur, in 1749, just thirteen years later than his renowned friend Lagrange. His father was a farmer, but appears to have been in a position to provide a good education for a son who seemed promising. Considering the unorthodoxy in religious matters which is […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers Nicolaus Copernicus

THE quaint town of Thorn, on the Vistula, [1] was more than two centuries old when Copernicus was born there on the 19th of February, 1473. The situation of this town on the frontier between Prussia and Poland, with the commodious waterway offered by the river, made it a place of considerable trade. A view […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers John Flamsteed

AMONG the manuscripts preserved at Greenwich Observatory are certain documents in which Flamsteed gives an account of his own life. We may commence our sketch by quoting the following passage from this autobiography : ” To keep myself from idleness, and to recreate myself, I have intended here to give some account of my life, […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers Johannes Kepler

While the illustrious astronomer, Tycho Brahe, lay on his death-bed, he had an interview which must ever rank as one of the important incidents in the history of science. The life of Tycho had been passed, as we have seen, in the accumulation of vast stores of careful observations of the positions of the heavenly […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers James Bradley

JAMES BRADLEY was descended from an ancient family in the county of Durham. He was born in 1692 or 1693, at Sherbourne, in Gloucestershire, and was educated in the Grammar School at Northleach. From thence he proceeded in due course to Oxford, where he was admitted a commoner at Balliol College, on March 15th, 1711. […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers Isaac Newton

IT was just a year after the death of Galileo, that an infant came into the world who was christened Isaac Newton. Even the great fame of Galileo himself must be relegated to a second place in comparison with that of the philosopher who first expounded the true theory of the universe. Isaac Newton was […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers Galileo Galilei

AMONG the ranks of the great astronomers it would be difficult to find one whose life presents more interesting features and remarkable vicissitudes than does that of Galileo. We may consider him as the patient investigator and brilliant discoverer. We may consider him in his private relations, especially to his daughter, Sister Maria Celeste, a […]

Robert Stawell Ball – Great Astronomers Edmond Halley

ISAAC NEWTON was just fourteen years of age when the birth of Edmund Halley, who was destined in after years to become Newton’s warmly attached friend, and one of his most illustrious scientific contemporaries, took place. There can be little doubt that the fame as an astronomer which Halley ultimately acquired, great as it certainly […]

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