Early Variable Star Discoverers and Researchers
- Dom Voituret Anthelme (c. 1618 - Dec 14, 1683)
- Born in Chatenay, France, Voituret Anthelme became a Carthusian monk who
did some work in astronomy. He discovered and observed
Nova 1670 Vulpeculae, the first ordinary nova
discovered in modern times, later also named CK Vulpeculae.
Also published Explication de la comete and other treatises.
Anthelme biography (Galileo Project, Rice University)
- Willem Janszoom Blaeu (1571 - Oct 21, 1638)
- In 1600, he discovered a new variable star in Cygnis, then called
Nova 1600 Cygni and later named P Cygni.
According to R.H. Allen (1899), he was also a skilled globe-maker starting
from 1592, and called himself also Jansenius Caesius. In 1596 he founded
a carthographic office which produced sea and land as well as celestial maps,
globes and atlasses.
- Tycho Brahe (Dec 14, 1546 - Oct 24, 1601)
- Observed, studied and described Supernova 1572,
often called after him "Tycho's Supernova."
Having studied law in various European places, Tycho (whose original name was
Tyge Brahe) turned to professional astronomy and with the help of Danish King
Frederick II, established his observatories "Uranienburg" (1580) and
"Sternenburg" (1584) on the island Hven, where he performed astrometric
measures which were the best in pre-telescopic times. Results were the
discovery that comets are situated in space beyond the Moon, of Lunar
variation and acurate planetary pathes in the sky. He also invented a new
(the "Tychonic") world system and was engaged in astrology and alchimy.
Tycho Brahe biography
- Probably first discovered Supernova 1604.
- In 1827, he discovered with certainty the variability of
- Discovered Nova 1783 Sagittae, also named
WY Sagittae (WY Sge)
- Ismail Bouillaud (Bullialdus; Sep 28, 1605 - Nov 25, 1694)
- Observed Mira (Omicron Ceti) and found its period
to be about 333 days.
Ismail Bouillaud biography
- David Fabricius (Mar 9, 1564 - May 7, 1617)
- Born in friesian Esens, David Fabricius was protestant pastor first in
Westerhave, then in Osteel, and amateur astronomer. In 1596, he discovered
variable star Mira (Omicron Ceti). He was known to
Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler, and reported several naked-eye sunspot
observations. He is reported to have been murdered because he claimed, in one
of his last sermons, to know the currently active thief of chickens and geese.
David Fabricius biography (Manfred Holl, in German)
- John Flamsteed (Aug 19, 1646 - Dec 3, 1719)
- Possibly observed the supernova which created the remnant and radio source
Cassiopeia A on August 16, 1680.
John Flamsteed biography
- In 1821, he discovered the variability of
- John Goodricke (1764 - 1786)
- In 1784, he discovered the variability of Sheliak
(Beta Lyrae), an eclipsing variable, and the variability of
Delta Cephei, the second known Cepheid variable
and name patron for this class of variable stars. He also gave the correct
explanation of the variability of Algol as eclipsing variable.
Being deaf from his birth, Goodricke collaborated in observing with his close
friend and neighbor, Edward Pigott until his untimely
death in 1786, from pneumonia he probably caught when observing Delta Cephei.
John Goodricke biography (Jens Dengler, Berlin)
- Edmond Halley (Oct 29, 1656 - Jan 14, 1742)
- Discovered Eta Carinae.
Published a first list of (6) variables.
Edmond Halley biography
- Karl Ludwig Harding (Sep 29, 1765 - Aug 31, 1834)
- Over the years, Harding discovered four variable stars, all of Mira type:
R Virginis in 1809,
R Aquarii in 1810,
R Serpentis in 1826, and
S Serpentis in 1828.
- John Herschel (Mar 7, 1792 - May 11, 1871)
In 1836, John Herschel discovered the variability of red supergiant star
Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis), of type SR c.
John Herschel biography
- William Herschel (Nov 15, 1738 - Aug 25, 1822)
In 1795, William Herschel discovered the semiregular variability of red
Ras Algheti (Alpha Herculis), of type SR c.
William Herschel biography
- Johan [Jan, Johannes] Hevelius (Jan 28, 1611 - Jan 28, 1687)
- Observed Mira (Omicron Ceti) and christened it "Mira."
Johan Hevelius biography
- Jan Fokkens (Johann Phocylides) Holwarda (1618 - 1651)
- Rediscovered the variable star Mira (Omicron Ceti)
in 1638, and in subsequent years discovered its periodicity of about 11 months.
Lunar crater Phocylides (52.7S, 57.0W, 121 km diameter) was named to his
honor in 1935.
(USGS Planetary Nomenclature)
- Johannes Kepler (Dec 27, 1571 - Nov 15, 1630)
- Observed, studied and described Supernova 1604,
often called after him "Kepler's Supernova."
- Gottfried Kirch (Dec 18, 1639 - Jul 25, 1710)
- In 1687, discovered the variability of Chi Cygni
Gottfried Kirch biography
- J.A. Koch
- In 1782, discovered the Mira variable star
- Giacomo Filippo (Jacques Philippe) Maraldi (Maraldi I,
Aug 21, 1665 - Dec 1, 1729)
- In 1704, discovered the Mira type variable star
Jacques Philippe Maraldi (Maraldi I) biography
- Geminiano Montanari
- In 1669, he discovered the variability of Algol
- Edward Pigott (1753 - Jun 27, 1825)
- In 1784, he discovered Eta Aquilae, the first
known Delta Cephei star. Edward Pigott collaborated in observing with his
neighbor and good friend, John Goodricke, until
Goodricke's death in 1786. In 1795, he found the particular variable
R Coronae Borealis which is the prototype of an
important class of variables, and the RV Tauri variable star
Edward Pigott biography
- W. Schuler
- Probably the first discoverer of Supernova 1572.
- In 1829, he discovered the Mira type variable R Cancri.