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By Govert Schilling

400 years in the past in Middelburg, within the Netherlands, the telescope was once invented. the discovery unleashed a revolution within the exploration of the universe. Galileo Galilei stumbled on mountains at the Moon, spots at the solar, and moons round Jupiter. Christiaan Huygens observed information on Mars and jewelry round Saturn. William Herschel came upon a brand new planet and mapped binary stars and nebulae. different astronomers made up our minds the distances to stars, unraveled the constitution of the Milky method, and stumbled on the growth of the universe. And, as telescopes grew to become larger and extra strong, astronomers delved deeper into the mysteries of the cosmos. In his Atlas of Astronomical Discoveries, astronomy journalist Govert Schilling tells the tale of four hundred years of telescopic astronomy. He seems to be on the a hundred most crucial discoveries because the invention of the telescope.

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In the autumn of 1659, Huygens aims his telescope at the planet Mars, which rises in the evening as a bright red-orange star between the horns of Taurus. Huygens looks intensely at the small planetary disk. Every now and again, if the Earth’s atmosphere is calm for a while and the telescope image is less shaky, he can make out a spot on the surface, a dark triangle on Mars. The sketch Huygens made that night is the first ‘map’ of another planet. During the night the spot moves- Mars is rotating on its axis!

William Herschel introduces the term in 1783, when he discovers the apex of the Sun – the point towards which the Sun is moving in the sky. Apparently it is not only the Earth that moves through space, the Sun does, too, and Herschel’s discovery shows that the Sun is not the fixed center of the cosmos. Herschel elaborates on Edmund Halley’s discovery of the proper motion of the stars. In 1718 Halley discovers that Arcturus, Sirius and Aldebaran are not in the same position in the sky as they were in the time of the Greek astronomer Hipparchus.

Herschel himself is not convinced that he has discovered a new planet until 1783. King George III is so impressed with Herschel’s discovery that he awards him an annual grant of £200. As a token of his gratitude Herschel wants to call the new planet Georgium Sidus (‘George’s Star’) and the English Nautical Almanac Office uses the name until 1850, but by then the name Uranus – proposed by Bode – has become widely accepted. It is nearly impossible to detect any details on the small, faraway planetary disk, but on January 11, 1787, Herschel discovers two moons around the planet, which are later given the names Oberon and Titania.

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