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photo:astronomy_history

a brief history of astronomy

ancient Greeks:

  • the geocentric universe:
    • earth is the centre of the universe, around which the sun & planets rotate
    • this held as the popular view almost to the end of the 18thC!!
  • Aristarchus' universe:
    • the only reference remaining is a critic by Archimedes, and this view appears to have been lost
    • sun & stars are fixed, earth & planets rotate around the sun.

modern history

  • 1543: Copernicus' universe:
    • published a view similar to Aristarchus but not widely accepted as opposed religious doctrine, removing humanity as the centre of all consideration, until Newton & others to spread it, even so, it was not widely accepted until late 18thC.
  • 1572: Brahe discovers the “New Star” in the Milky Way;
  • 1599: Brahe's account of his discoveries & instruments;
  • 1609: Galileo's telescope:
    • invented the 1st refractor telescope with an upright image some 50yrs after the 1st telescope by Digges.
    • 1610: discovered the 4 largest moons around Jupiter
  • 1610: Harriott discovers sunspots; Pieresc discovers Orion nebula;
  • 1618: Kepler's 3rd law of planetary motion;
  • 1651: Riccioli introduces on his lunar map many of the modern names of lunar features;
  • 1666: Newton measures the moon's orbit;
  • 1668: Isaac Newton (1642-1727):
    • popularised the reflector telescope with a 90deg. mirror sending light sideways & which did not suffer from chromatic aberration as did the refractor
  • 1675: Romer discovers the finite velocity of light;
  • 1705, Halley correctly predicts return of the Halley comet for 1758;
  • 1761: atmosphere of Venus;
  • 1800: Herschel discovers infrared solar rays;
  • 1802: Herschel disc. binary stars;
  • 1805, rockets re-introduced as weapons in UK army;
  • 1818: Encke's comet;
  • 1838, parallax measurement for a fixed star;
  • 1859: spectroscope;
  • 1859: massive solar flare witnessed just prior to telegraph systems failing and large aurorae leads to the recognition of solar flares and their effects on earth and the magnetosphere thus founding the concept of space weather
  • 1888: radio waves; 
  • 1895: rocket propulsion principle;
  • 1896, helium;
  • 1913: Russell's theory of stellar evolution; 
  • 1914: Goddard's rocketry expts;
  • 1917: Mt Wilson 100in telescope;
  • 1921: Oberth's “The Rocket into Interplanetary Space”;
  • 1925: cosmic rays in upper atmosphere;
  • 1926: Goddard's 1st liquid fuel rocket; 
  • 1929: Hubble measures red shifts;
  • 1930: pluto; Schmidt makes 1st coma-free 14“ mirror telescope;
  • 1932: Piccard reaches 17.5miles high in his stratosphere balloon; 
  • 1946: sun spots emit radiowaves; pilotless rocket missile;
  • 1948: rocket missiles reach 78 miles high & 3000mph; 200in Mt Palomar telescope;
  • 1949: US launches guided missile 250miles;
  • 1953: cosmic ray observatory erected; rocket-powered plane flies at 1,600mph;
  • 1957: USSR launches Sputnik I & II - 1st earth satellites; 
  • 1958: NASA established; Van Allen belts around earth;
  • 1959: USSR launches rocket with monkeys aboard;
  • 1960: 1st weather satellite;
  • 1961: Yuri Gagarin (USSR) orbits earth; Alan Shepard (US) makes 1st US space flight;
  • 1962: Mariner 2 launched as probe to Venus; 
  • 1963: quasars; 
  • 1966: Soviet Luna 9 then US Surveyor I soft-lands on moon; Aldrin's space walk;
  • 1968: Apollo 8 orbits moon; pulsars; 
  • 1969: Concorde; Apollo 11 - man on moon; Mariner probe images of Mars;
  • 1970: Apollo 13;
  • 1971: Apollo 14 & 15 explore moon's surface; Mariner 9 orbits Mars; USSR soft lands capsule on Mars; 
  • 1972: Apollo 16 & 17 on moon; Soviet Venus 8 lands on Venus;
  • 1973: Skylab; Pioneer 10 probe to Jupiter transmits images back; US Pres. Nixon approves development of the shuttle;
  • 1974: Skylab 3 astronauts 84 days in space; Mariner 10 transmits images of both Venus & Mercury; 
    • USSR space probe lands on Mars & detects more water vapour than expected; 
    • work begins on the 1st shuttle Enterprise - an atmosphere only shuttle.
  • 1975: US & Soviet craft rendezvous in orbit - the 1st joint international flight & the last US manned mission in the 1970's.
  • 1979: Skylab crashes into Western Australia.
  • 1981: 1st shuttle flight in space - the Columbia;
  • 1983: 1st flight for shuttle Challenger;
  • 1984: 1st flight for shuttle Discovery;
  • 1985: 1st flight for shuttle Atlantis;
  • 1986: after 24 shuttle flights, 1st shuttle tragedy when Challenger  blows up on launch killing all 7 astronauts;
  • 1990: shuttle places Hubble Space Telescope in orbit.
  • 1992: 1st flight for shuttle Endeavour;
  • 1993:  Endeavour flight repairs the flawed Hubble telescope;
  • 1996: 1st space flight of Australian astronaut Andy Thomas.
  • 1998: Russian rocket delivers the 1st International Space Station (ISS) module into orbit.
  • 2003: Columbia breaks up on re-entry killing all 7 astronauts;
  • 2005: 114th shuttle mission;
  • 2010: ISS likely to finish;

history of space travel

  • 1957:
    • USSR launches world 1st satellite Sputnik 1
    • Russian dog Lalka becomes 1st animal thrust into space, dies aboard Sputnik 2
  • 1958:
    • US launches its 1st satellite, Explorer 1
    • NASA created
  • 1959:
    • Soviet satellite Luna 1, 1st craft to escape earth's gravity
    • radio-controlled Soviet satellite Luna 2 crashes on to the moon
    • Soviet probe Luna 3 transmits 1st images of the hidden side of the moon
  • 1961:
    • Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes 1st man in space, completing a single 108min orbit aboard Vostok 1
    • US launches a Mercury spacecraft carrying astronaut Alan Shepard in a sub-orbital flight
    • US president John F Kennedy announces the Apollo space program aiming to land a man on moon by end of decade
  • 1962:
    • American John Glenn completes 3 orbits of earth
    • US launches probe to Venus
    • USSR launches probe to Mars
  • 1963:
    • 1st spaceflight by a woman - cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova
  • 1965:
    • cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov undertakes 1st spacewalk
  • 1967:
    • launchpad blaze kills all 3 astronauts aboard Apollo 1
    • Soviet cosmonaut Komarov killed when Soyuz 1 parachute fails to open
  • 1968:
    • Apollo 8 becomes 1st manned spaceship to fly around the moon
  • 1969:
    • Neil Armstrong & Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin become 1st men to set foot on the moon - Apollo 11
  • 1971:
    • USSR launches 1st orbital space station, Salyut 1
    • 3 cosmonauts die during descent of their module
  • 1972:
    • last manned flight to the moon (Apollo 17)
  • 1973:
    • NASA launches Skylab space station
  • 1975:
    • European Space Agency created
    • US Apollo spacecraft docks with a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft while in Earth orbit - 1st international cooperative flight
  • 1981:
    • maiden voyage of the US space shuttle Columbia, 1sr reusable manned spacecraft
  • 1986:
    • space shuttle Challenger explodes soon after takeoff killing all 7 astronauts
  • 1998:
    • International Space Station (ISS) starts to take shape
  • 1999:
    • China carries out 1st unmanned flight of its own spacecraft
  • 2001:
    • Soviet-Russian space station Mir is destroyed after 15yrs in service
    • world's 1st space tourist, US millionaire Dennis Tito flies to ISS
  • 2003:
    • shuttle Columbia disintegrates over Texas on re-entry killing 7 astronauts including the 1st Israeli in space
    • China becomes 3rd nation to complete manned space flight
  • 2004:
    • NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers land on Mars and find evidence for dried up water lakes
    • US president George W Bush jnr unveils plans for a return to the moon by 2015, saying a lunar base would allow manned flights to Mars and “across our solar system”

 

photo/astronomy_history.txt · Last modified: 2021/08/05 18:52 by gary1