User Tools

Site Tools


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;
  • 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: 2012/04/05 00:59 by gary1