Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers (BEA) is a two-volume biographical dictionary, first published in 2007, with a second edition released in 2014. The work covers astronomers from all geographies, born from antiquity to mid-1918. It includes more than 1500[1] biographies of both well-known and more obscure astronomers, produced by 410 contributors.

The encyclopedia has been published in both a print and online format by the publisher, Springer.


  1. ^ Stickland, David (2008). "Review:Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers". The Observatory. 128. p. 410-12. Bibcode:2008Obs...128..410.


External links


ʿAbū ʿAlī al‐Ḥusayn ibn Muḥammad al‐Ādamī (flourished in Baghdad, c. 925) was a maker of scientific instruments who wrote an extant work on vertical sundials. According to al-Biruni, al-Adami was the first to construct a "disc of

eclipses", an instrument which demonstrates solar and lunar eclipses.He should not be confused with his son Ibn al-Adami.


Shams al-Munajjim Muhammad ibn Ali al-Wabkanawi was a 14th-century Persian astronomer. He is the author of an important zij known as al‐Zīj al‐muḥaqqaq. Presumably he hailed from Wābkana, Bukhara. Not much is known about his life. His zij is extant in four manuscripts. His book is written in Persian language, even though its title is Arabic. Another book by him, known as Kitāb‐i maʿrifat‐i usṭurlāb‐i shamālī is also extant and is written in Persian language.

Albert Lancaster

Albert Benoît Marie Lancaster was a Belgian astronomer and meteorologist.

He was a contemporary of and assistant to Jean-Charles Houzeau.


Aristyllus (Greek: Ἀρίστυλλος; fl. c. 261 BC) was a Greek astronomer, presumably of the school of Timocharis (c. 300 BC). He was among the earliest meridian-astronomy observers. Six of his stellar declinations are preserved at Almajest 7.3. All are exactly correct within his over-cautious rounding to 1/4 degree. See discussion (and lessons) at DIO 7.1 ‡1 p. 13 (2007).

Aristyllus was long mis-dated to c. 300 BC (which made his data look among the poorest of the ancients); but when his correct date was found by least-squares (Isis 73:259-265 [1982] p. 263), it was realized that his star declinations' accuracy was unexcelled in antiquity. His data suggest that he worked in Alexandria: see DIO 4.1 ‡3 Table 3 p. 45 (2004).

A lunar crater, Aristillus, aptly near the Moon's meridian and at a lunar latitude roughly equal to the terrestrial latitude of Alexandria, is named after him.

Carl Keenan Seyfert

Carl Keenan Seyfert (February 11, 1911 – June 13, 1960) was an American astronomer. He is best known for his 1943 research paper on high-excitation line emission from the centers of some spiral galaxies, which are named Seyfert galaxies after him. Seyfert's Sextet, a group of galaxies, is also named after him.

Christine Kirch

Christine Kirch (1696 in Guben, Germany – 6 May 1782), was a German astronomer.

Hector Macpherson (astronomer)

Hector Copland Macpherson, (1 April 1888 – 19 May 1956) was a Scottish astronomer and minister. His 1940 work Biographical Dictionary of Astronomy was later incorporated into the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers, which was first published in 2007.

Ida Barney

Ida Barney (November 6, 1886 – March 7, 1982) was an American astronomer, best known for her 22 volumes of astrometric measurements on 150,000 stars. She was educated at Smith College and Yale University and spent most of her career at the Yale University Observatory. She was the 1952 recipient of the Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy.

John Bainbridge (astronomer)

John Bainbridge (1582 – 3 November 1643) was an English astronomer and mathematician.

Kordylewski cloud

Kordylewski clouds are large concentrations of dust that exist at the L4 and L5 Lagrangian points of the Earth–Moon system. They were first reported by Polish astronomer Kazimierz Kordylewski in the 1960s, and confirmed to exist in October 2018.

Kushyar Gilani

Abul-Hasan Kūshyār ibn Labbān ibn Bashahri Gilani (971–1029), also known as Kūshyār Gīlānī (Persian: کوشیار گیلانی‎), was an Iranian mathematician, geographer, and astronomer from Gilan, south of the Caspian Sea, Iran.

Lidiya Tseraskaya

Lidiya Tseraskaya (Russian: Лидия Петровна Цераская) (1855 - 1931) was a Soviet astronomer.

Born in Astrakhan. Graduated from the Teacher's Institute in Petersberg. Worked at the Moscow Observatory. Discovered 219 variable stars, among them (1905) RV Tauri variable and recognized its uniqueness. The Venusian crater Tseraskaya was named after her.Tseraskaya was married to Vitol'd (or Witold) Karlovich Tseraskiy (or Ceraski), who was Professor of Astronomy as Moscow University. Her academic papers were published as "W. Ceraski".

Maria Margaretha Kirch

Maria Margaretha Kirch (née Winckelmann, in historic sources named Maria Margaretha Kirchin; 25 February 1670 – 29 December 1720) was a German astronomer, and one of the first famous astronomers of her period due to her writings on the conjunction of the sun with Saturn, Venus, and Jupiter in 1709 and 1712 respectively.

Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr al‐Farisi

Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr al-Farisi (d. 1278/1279), an Iranian Islamic astronomer and astrologer born in Aden. He is the author of al-Tuḥfa, which includes a treatise containing important information for the history of Islamic astronomy and its connection with the religion of Islam.

Muʾayyad al-Dīn al-ʿUrḍī

Al-Urdi (full name:

Muʾayyad (al‐Milla wa‐) al‐Dīn (Muʾayyad ibn Barīk [Burayk]) al‐ʿUrḍī (al‐ʿĀmirī al‐Dimašqī) (مؤيد (الملة و) الدين (مؤيد ابن بريك) ألعرضي (العامري الدمشقي d. 1266) was a medieval Arab astronomer and geometer.Born circa 1200, presumably (from the nisba al‐ʿUrḍī) in the village of ʿUrḍ in the Syrian desert between Palmyra and Resafa, he came to Damascus at some point before 1239, where he worked as an engineer and teacher of geometry, and built instruments for al-Malik al-Mansur of Hims. In 1259 he moved to Maragha in northeastern Iran, after being asked by Nasir al-Din al-Tusi to help establish the Maragha observatory under the patronage of Hulagu.

Al-Urdi's most notable works are Risālat al-Raṣd, a treatise on observational instruments, and Kitāb al-Hayʾa (كتاب الهيئة), a work on theoretical astronomy. His influence can be seen on Bar Hebraeus and Qutb al-Din al-Shirazi, in addition to being quoted by Ibn al-Shatir.

Al-Urdi contributed to the construction of the observatory outside of the city, constructing special devices and water wheels in order to supply the observatory, which was built on a hill, with drinking water. He also constructed some of the instruments used in the observatory, in the year 1261/2.

Al-Urdi's son, who also worked in the observatory, made a copy of his father's Kitāb al‐Hayʾa and also constructed a celestial globe in 1279.Al-Urdi is a member of the group of Islamic astronomers of the 13th and 14th centuries who were active in the criticism of the astronomical model presented in Ptolemy's Almagest. Saliba (1979) identified Bodleian ms. Marsh 621 as a copy of Al-Urdi's Kitāb al-Hayʾa, based on which he argued that Al-Urdi's contributions predated Al-Tusi. Otto E. Neugebauer in 1957 argued that the works of this group of astronomers, perhaps via Ibn al-Shatir, must have been received in 15th-century Europe and ultimately influenced the works of Copernicus.

This concerns the "Urdi lemma" in particular, an extension of Apollonius' theorem that allowed an equant in an astronomic model to be replaced with an equivalent epicycle that moved around a deferent centered at half the distance to the equant point.

Nicholas Kollerstrom

Nicholas Kollerstrom (born 1946) is an English Historian of Science and author who is known for Holocaust denial and the promotion of conspiracy theories. Formerly an honorary research fellow in The Department for Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London (UCL), he is the author of several books, including Gardening and Planting by the Moon (an annual series beginning in 1980), Newton's Forgotten Lunar Theory (2000), Crop Circles (2002), and Terror on the Tube (2009). He has also written entries for the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers.

Kollerstrom has been involved in a variety of issues as a political activist. In 1986 he co-founded the Belgrano Action Group after the sinking of the ARA General Belgrano by the Royal Navy during the Falklands War, and from 2006 he argued that the 7 July 2005 London bombings had not been carried out by the men accused of them. UCL withdrew his fellowship in 2008 after he posted material about the Auschwitz concentration camp on a Holocaust-denial website.

Valz Prize

The Valz Prize (Prix Valz) was awarded by the French Academy of Sciences, from 1877 through 1970, to honor advances in astronomy.

Y. P. Varshni

Y. P. Varshni (born 1932) is a scientist in the areas of physics and astrophysics.

Varshni studied at Allahabad University, where he obtained his B.Sc in 1950, his M.Sc. in 1952, and his Ph.D. in 1956. He published his first research paper in 1951 at the age of 19. He served as an assistant professor in the Physics Dept., Allahabad University for the period 1955–60.

Varshni emigrated to Canada as a postdoctorate fellow at the National Research Council, Ottawa, Canada in July 1960. For the next two years he worked in theoretical physics under Ta-You Wu, a distinguished physicist who in China taught T.D. Lee and C.N. Yang, who won the Nobel Prize in 1957. In July 1962, Varshni was appointed as assistant professor in the Department of Physics at the University of Ottawa. He became associate professor in July 1965 and full professor in July 1969. He retired in June 1997 and was then appointed as Emeritus Professor. Varshni has worked in a number of areas of physics and astrophysics. He wrote on the Plasma Laser Star Theory of quasars. He was the Ph.D advisor of David Joseph Singh, a professor at the University of Missouri.

He has published more than 260 research papers in important scientific journals. Varshni has also contributed three biographies to the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers.

Varshni is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, Institute of Physics (UK) and Royal Astronomical Society (UK). He is also a Full Member of the American Astronomical Society.

Yahya ibn Abi Mansur

Yahya ibn Abi Mansur (Arabic: یحیی ابن ابی منصور‎), was a senior Persian official from the Banu al-Munajjim family, who served as an astronomer/astrologer at the court of Abbasid caliph al-Ma'mun. His Persian name was Bizist, son of Firuzan (بزیست فیروزان). Since his father Abu Mansur Aban was an astrologer in service of caliph al-Mansur, it can be concluded that Yahya spent his childhood in Baghdad. His first known position was as an astrologer for al-Fadl ibn Sahl, vizier of the caliph al-Ma'mun. After the assassination of al-Fadl, Yahya converted to Islam and adopted his Arabic name. He was also associated with the House of Wisdom and is mentioned as a teacher of the Banu Musa. He died near Aleppo in 830 CE.

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