Monday, November 9, 2015

Birthdays!

I'm on the road right now, which is why I haven't been updating lately. Yesterday and today (the 8th and the 9th) mark some pretty important birthdays in astronomy and science.

Edmund Halley was born on the 8th of November in 1656. He was the second Astronomer Royal, succeeding John Flamsteed. He, using he friend Isaac Newton's equations, was the first man to accurately predict the course of a comet in the sky before its return, the comet named for him in fact. From his time on the island of Saint Helena, he deduced that a transit of Venus across the face of the Sun would give an accurate measurement of the size of the solar system, though he would never live to perform the measurement himself.

Carl Sagan was born on November 9th, 1934. His is a legacy of sharing knowledge of the sciences with the masses through his popular series Cosmos. He determined that the surface of Venus is extremely how due to its runaway greenhouse effect. He helped design the Golden Record on Voyager, as well as the Pioneer Plaque, the first intentional physical man made communication with any extraterrestrial life.

These men are titans of modern science, without whom we wouldn't know a great deal about out universe, solar system, and world. Where might we be were it not for people such as them?