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GIOVANNI DOMENICO CASSINI
GIOVANNI DOMENICO CASSINI
Genoa, Italy (1625 - 1712)
Giovanni Domenico Cassini was an Italian mathematician, astronomer, engineer, and astrologer. Cassini was an astronomer at the Panzano Observatory, from 1648 to 1669, professor of astronomy at the University of Bologna and became, in 1671, director of the Paris Observatory. Along with Robert Hooke, Cassini is given credit for the discovery of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter (ca. 1665). Cassini was the first to observe four of Saturn's moons, which he called Sidera Lodoicea. Around 1690, Cassini was the first to observe differential rotation within Jupiter's atmosphere.
 

Enjoy these insightful and educational video clips drawn from over 70 hours of interviews with the world's leading figures in astronomy, shot during the filming of 400 Years of the Telescope.

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Butler Burton

The chemistry of interstellar space
Butler Burton - NRAO, Green Bank

What is perhaps surprising about the molecules that have been detected is that so many of them are very familiar to us. Carbon monoxide – car exhaust. Alcohol. Ethanol. Formaldehyde – embalming fluid. Formic acid – what stings if an ant bites you. mercaptan – what smells if a skunk skunks you.

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Butler Burton

The Green Bank Telescope (GBT)
Butler Burton - NRAO, Green Bank

The Green Bank telescope is a section of a parabola 100 meters across, weighs 16 million pounds. It’s one of the largest moveable structures on land.

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Butler Burton

The development of radio astronomy
Butler Burton - NRAO, Green Bank

Radio telescopes have changed over the course of the past 50-70 years, but basically the modern radio telescopes all consist of a reflecting mirror which focuses the image in the receiver.

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Butler Burton

Jansky and Reber
Butler Burton - NRAO, Green Bank

Karl Jansky was a radio engineer. He was pulled off of this project by the telephone company who were more interested in practical matters. Although some astronomers had heard of this discovery, astronomers were not radio engineers, radio engineers were not astronomers, and it took a very unusual, iconoclastic individual, Mr. Rieber, to follow up on this.

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Butler Burton

Jan Oort and the hydrogen line
Butler Burton - NRAO, Green Bank

The astronomer who saw the potential most clearly was Professor Jan Oort in the Netherlands. It was the wartime occupation in the Netherlands gave him plenty of time to think and he set one of his graduate students the task of asking the question, "Would there be a discreet spectral line, a discreet tone coming from space, from a known source?"

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