Jeremiah Horrocks

Jeremiah Horrocks (1618  3 January 1641), sometimes given as Jeremiah Horrox (the Latinised version that he used on the Emmanuel College register and in his Latin manuscripts),[2] was an English astronomer. He was the first person to demonstrate that the Moon moved around the Earth in an elliptical orbit; and he was the only person to predict the transit of Venus of 1639, an event which he and his friend William Crabtree were the only two people to observe and record. Most remarkably, Horrocks (correctly) asserted that Jupiter was accelerating in its orbit while Saturn was slowing and interpreted this as due to mutual gravitational interaction, thereby demonstrating that gravity's actions were not limited to the Earth, Sun, and Moon.[3]

Jeremiah Horrocks
Romanticised Victorian painting of Horrocks making the first observation of the transit of Venus in 1639. No contemporary portraits of Horrocks survive.[1]
Born1618
Lower Lodge, Otterspool,
Toxteth Park, Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died3 January 1641 (aged 22)
Toxteth Park, Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Alma materUniversity of Cambridge
Known forTransit of Venus
Tides
Elliptical orbit
Lunar orbit
Scientific career
FieldsAstronomy
Mathematics
Mechanics

His early death and the chaos of the English Civil War nearly resulted in the loss to science of his treatise on the transit, Venus in sole visa; but for this and his other work he is acknowledged as one of the founding fathers of British astronomy.


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