Johannes Kepler Facts: Notable Achievements in the Field of Astronomy
1. In his college years, Kepler defended the Copernican system of planetary motion from both theological and theoretical perspective. Although he learned both Ptolemaic and Copernican systems, he followed the latter concept and openly defended the system in his work Mysterium Cosmographicum (The Cosmographic Mystery).
2. In 1600, Johannes Kepler met renowned Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe. After Brahe’s sudden death in 1601, Kepler used Brahe’s precise data and discovered that Mars moved in an elliptical orbit.He explained his discoveries (including the suggestion that the sun rotates on its own axis) in his work Astronomia Nova (1609), which constitutes Kepler’s first two laws. He published his third law of planetary motion in his Harmonices Mundi in 1619.
3. Kepler had to relocate many a times because of his religious stance, but he continued his studies and published the Epitome Astronomiae in 1621, which discussed the core concepts of heliocentric astronomy in a methodical way.
4. He developed the Rudolphine Tables which contained calculations using logarithms. Using these perpetual tables, Kepler calculated the planetary positions and predicted the transit of Venus and Mercury across the face of the sun. However, he died before witnessing the events.
5. The Supernova 1604, also known as Kepler’s Nova or Kepler’s Supernova, was first observed on October 8, 1604 by Johannes Kepler. He wrote a book De Stella nova in pede Serpentarii, in which he explained the astronomical properties of the star and speculated its origin. The remnant of Kepler’s supernova is still a significant subject of modern astronomical studies.
(Image, right, courtesy: http://chandra.harvard.edu/photo/printgallery/2004/ Credit: R.Sankrit & W.Blair/NASA/ESA/JHU)