JOHANNES HEVELIUS 1611 -
Hevelius: by the Polish painter Daniel Schultz (1615-
xxxxxThe Pole Johannes Hevelius, a brewer by day, spent his evenings in his home-
xxxxxThe Polish astronomer Johannes Hevelius was born and educated in Danzig (present-
xxxxxIn observing the sun he made a special study of sun spots and gave the name faculae to the bright areas near these spots, a term which is still in use today. And over a period of three years (1642-
xxxxxIn 1647 his Selenographia provided one of the earliest detailed maps of the lunar surface (illustrated), and some of the features he named then remain in use today. This work also contained a record of his discovery of the libration of the moon in longitude. Such research greatly increased interest in the lunar landscape and its composition. Three years after his death, his catalogue of more than 1,500 stars -
xxxxxIncidentally, Hevelius named a number of stars. He called a very small, inconspicuous constellation in the northern hemisphere Lynx, on the grounds that it would take the eyes of a Lynx to see it! He gave the name Stella Mira (wonderful star) to the first star discovered to vary periodically in brightness, and he named a faint constellation Sextens in memory of his sextant which was destroyed in a fire in 1679.
xxxxxAnother amateur astronomer at this time was the English clergyman Jeremiah Horrocks (c1617-
xxxxxIt was in 1639 that another amateur astronomer of this period, the English clergyman Jeremiah Horrocks (c1617-
xxxxxHe was born at Toxteth Park, Liverpool and, after attending Cambridge University, returned to his home area and devoted much of his spare time to astronomy, hoping to extend the work of the Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe and that of Kepler. During his hobby he studied tides, showed the moon's orbit to be all but elliptical, and put forward an improved value of 14 minutes for the solar parallax, a measure of the Earth's mean distance from the sun. Among his works were Venus in Sole Visa of 1662, and Jeremiae Horroccii Opera Posthuma, a sketch of his life, published by the Royal Society.