Historical Astronomers in Context

Isaac Newton (Jan 4, 1643 – Mar 31, 1727) Accomplishments

  • Isaac Newton’s big contribution to Astronomy was the development of the Three Laws of Motion that applied to how everything in this universe moved. He developed the three laws after examining fellow astronomer, Johannes Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion. The laws include: “An object at rest will remain at rest unless acted on by an unbalanced force. An object in motion continues in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force,” Force=Mass*Acceleration, and “For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction.” The important thing about these laws is that they applied to everything. In addition, Newton created the law of Universal Gravitation, which describes how every mass attracts every other mass by a certain force along a line that intersects both masses.

Historical Events:

  1. In 1682, Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn. This was a big thing happening in America as the Quakers were separating from the other settlers of the New World, which would become America. (World History 1600s)
  2. From 1701-14, the war of Spanish Succession occurred between France and Spain that was the result of Louis XIV’s actions to attempt to expand French Power. (World History 1700s)

Historical Figure

  1. Louis XIV (1638-1715)Louis XIV was important because he was one of the absolute monarchs of France that attempted to bring France under rule of one cohesive government with him at the top. He created a centralized administration with a middle class at the base while attempting to unify the religion of France as well as construction the Versailles Palace to show his extreme wealth and dominance over the French people.


I think it is important to realize that when most astronomers were making significant discoveries and contributions to the field of Astronomy, there was a lot going on in the rest of the world and that it is important to remember the greater context of global politics and events. The worst thing we can do is to pretend we are in a bubble when looking at history and purposefully ignoring what is going on around the world when Newton is developing his three laws. Also, these men face persecution because many of their discoveries were so radical that most governments and religions would not accept them and therefore, punish, banish, or kill those who released them.

The Cosmic Calendar

From CosmicCalendar.Net

For my first blog, I wanted to discuss the Cosmic Calendar. Often times in our life we think of our lifespans as quite long. Especially when compared to our ancestors of a few hundreds to thousands of years ago, we are long surpassing their lifespans. However, compared to the lifespan of the universe, we are just a tiny speck and I think it is extremely important to remind ourselves of that. Written history only began 12 seconds ago on the cosmic calendar, our lifespan won’t even last a second in the cosmic calendar. Other examples of how long this universe has been around can be found in the picture. The perspective of the cosmic calendar is astonishing because you notice how incredibly not important we are to the entire spectrum. The Big Bang was 13.8 billion years ago so they consider that midnight on January 1st. Every month roughly represents a little over a billion years. Humans weren’t even a thing till December rolled around, December 31st might I add.

I think if anything it’s incredibly important to realize that this universe went through a whole lot before we arrived on the scene. The universe has never and never will revolve around humans. We are just a speck of time on a speck of land in a universe that is ever expanding. I think everyone should realize this as it should be a goal on this earth to make our extremely short time relative to the universe worthwhile and mean something valuable to everyone. The cosmic calendar gives us perspective that nothing else can because there is no single thing that can show us how little of importance we actually are in the grand scheme of this universe. Let’s just leave it a better universe than when we found it, that should be our goal.