Ptolemy

The career of the famous man whose name stands at the head of this chapter is one of the most remarkable in the history of human learning. There may have been other discoverers who have done more for science than ever Ptolemy accomplished, but there never has been any other discoverer whose authority on the subject of the movements of the heavenly bodies has held sway over the minds of men for so long a period as the fourteen centuries during which his opinions reigned supreme. The doctrines he...

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 was, would have been even greater still had it not been somewhat impaired by the misfortune that he had to shine in the same sky as that which was illumined by the...

John Herschel

This illustrious son of an illustrious father was born at Slough, near Windsor, on the 7th March, 1792. He was the only child of Sir William Herschel, who had married somewhat late in life, as we have already mentioned. PLATE ASTRONOMETER MADE BY SIR J. HERSCHEL to compare the light of certain stars by the intervention of the moon. The surroundings among which the young astronomer was reared afforded him an excellent training for that career on which he was to enter, and in which he was...

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 goods to leave to his children, but he more than compensated for this by bequeathing to them a splendid inheritance of genius. Touches of genius were, indeed, liberally...