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SIR ISAAC NEWTON
SIR ISAAC NEWTON
England (1643 - 1727)
English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist and theologian, his Philosophæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, is considered to be the most influential book in the history of science. In this work, Newton described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, laying the groundwork for classical mechanics, which dominated the scientific view of the physical universe for the next three centuries and is the basis for modern engineering.
 

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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Mark Giampapa

General relativity and solar observations
Mark Giampapa - National Solar Observatory

Einstein’s general theory of relativity had an interesting prediction, namely that light rays passing near the sun, passing through the strong gravitational field of the sun would be bent, and this led to the prediction that the apparent positions of stars as their light passed near the sun would shift.

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Mark Giampapa

George Ellery Hale and sunspots
Mark Giampapa - National Solar Observatory

George Ellery Hale was the founder of Mt. Wilson Observatory in the early 1900s, where he was to carry out fundamental experiments in solar observational astrophysics.

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Mark Giampapa

IYA greeting
Mark Giampapa - National Solar Observatory

Hi, I’m Mark Giampapa, an astronomer, and I’d like to extend to you on behalf of the National Solar Observatory, our greetings and my own personal greetings and thank you for your participation in the International Year of Astronomy. And I want you to always remember to look up.

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Mark Giampapa

The McMath-Pierce telescope
Mark Giampapa - National Solar Observatory

Behind me is the McMath-Pierce telescope, the world’s largest solar telescope. It has a primary mirror of 1.6 meters in diameter, which is nearly twice the diameter of currently operating solar telescopes.

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Mark Giampapa

Studying the sun
Mark Giampapa - National Solar Observatory

Among all the astronomical objects that we observe, the sun is certainly the most important astronomical object to all of humankind. The sun supplies the energy for life on Earth, to sustain our lives on the Earth, and it’s the driver of the climate on Earth. And so it’s extremely important for us to understand all aspects of the variability of the sun.

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Mark Giampapa

Digital photography and computing power in astronomy
Mark Giampapa - National Solar Observatory

Transcript in progress

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Mark Giampapa

The telescope, Galileo and solar observations
Mark Giampapa - National Solar Observatory

Galileo was among four initial users of the telescope, and observed sunspots with his newly invented telescope. And that really marked the beginning of solar astronomy.

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Mark Giampapa

What is astronomy?
Mark Giampapa - National Solar Observatory

Well, astronomy is the study of the stars, planets, and basically the contents of the cosmos. Their composition, their evolution, and the large-scale structure of the universe.

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Mark Giampapa

Why I became an astronomer
Mark Giampapa - National Solar Observatory

I became an astronomer because I really enjoyed physics and mathematics as a kid, and especially in high school. I found though that I tended to like the physics problems in space more than the physics problems in the lab.

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Owen Gingerich

Copernicus and Aristarchus
Owen Gingerich - Harvard University

In Copernicus’ day, one didn’t want to be too radical an innovator.

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