The History of Astronomy

The first crude telescopes began our long journey to astronomy, astrology, space travel, and the solar system in the 1600s, excitedly skipping down the yellow brick road toward literally another world. Historical explorations of this world began in a world with astronomers Christiann Huygens from the Netherlands, and Gian Domenico Cassino in Italy.

Born and dying in Hague, Christian Huygens lived an uneventful life, even though he is now credited with improving the telescope in 1654. Both he and his brother devised a more improved method of grinding and polishing the lenses of the telescope used at the time. Because of this, he was able to more adequately in 1655 and 1656 to resolve numerous astronomical questions, such as observations made about the planet Saturn’s appendage. These newly advanced astronomical observations required the use of a more advanced exact method of measuring time, so Huygens (or Hugens as he referred to himself) in 1656 invented the pendulum clock whereas the previously used pieces were balance-clocks. Right after that wrote and published a small book about the calculus of probabilities, which was basically founded on the correspondence of Pascal and Fermat, while he was in England.

By now, he had gathered enough interest and fame that Louis XIV, in 1665, offered him money through a pension if he would stay in Paris. Hereafter, this became his place of residence as he became more specialized in the clock industry. But by 1681 he severed ties with France, due to their increasing intolerance of Catholics, returning to Holland. Once moved, he devoted himself entirely to the construction of lenses of “enormous focal length” which still remains in the Royal Society of London-123 feet, 180 feet, and 210 feet. Right after this, he met Newton in 1689 when he left Holland to move to England, recognized the intellectual merits of Newton’s work. When Huygen’s works were first written they were in an archaic language, which possibly caused his work to receive less fame that they should.

The other individual, Gian Domenico Cassino, or Cassini I, was an Italian-born French astronomer is credited with discovering Cassini’s division, first to record observations of the zodiacal light, the dark gap between A and B rings of Saturn, and four of Saturn’s moons. His birth name was Giovanni Dominico Cassini, but his move to France brought about a French form of his name.

The Cassini family made a name for themselves in the field of astronomy, astrology, and cartography. Gian’s earlier astrological observations were of the Sun, at least until he was able to obtain more powerful telescopes for more detailed studies of the solar system. After that, he was able to calculate Jupiter’s and Mars’s rotational periods, able to compile a table of the positions.