Historical Astronomers in Context

Famous Scientists

My chosen astronomer is Johannes Kepler, who lived from 12/27/1571 – 11/15/1630. Kepler helped us understand orbits. He developed three rules, the first of which tells us that things orbit in elliptical shapes. His second rule tells us that when something is in orbit, it sweeps equal areas in equal time. His third rule shows us a formula to understand the relationship between distance and the time it takes for an object to orbit. These rules have been extraordinarily helpful in physics and astronomy, especially as used to understand the relationship between the sun and the Earth.

During Kepler’s lifetime, the following interesting events occurred:

1605: The first part of the Spanish novel Don Quixote was published by author Miguel de Cervantes.

1607: English settlers establish the Jamestown colony in Virginia.

Additionally, William Shakespeare lived from 1564 – 1616. He is a still a world famous playwright, likely the most famous of all time.

When I first saw the dates during which Kepler was alive, they seemed so long ago that little of modern relevance could have possibly been going on. However, I have learned not only how many other major astronomers were alive during Kepler’s time, but also that important literary and historical events with modern relevance were happening.


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