3,000 BCE - 1700 AD
BCE - 1700 AD/1700
AD - 1850 AD/1850
AD - 1957/1957
AD - 1989
3000 BCE - Babylonian
astrologer-astronomers begin making methodical observations of the skies.
2000 BCE - Babylonians develop
1300 BCE - Chinese use of
1000 BCE - Babylonians record
sun/moon/planetary movements - Egyptians use sun-clock.
BCE - Pythagoras of Samos sets up a school which rivals the Ionians.
Parmenides of Elea, a student, proposes a spherical Earth made from condensed
air and divided into five zones. He also sets forth ideas for stars being
made of compressed fire and a finite, motionless, and spherical universe
with illusory motion.
585 BC - Thales of
Miletus, a Greek astronomer of the Ionian school, predicts the angular
diameter of the sun. He also effectively predicts a solar eclipse, frightening
Media and Lydia into negotiating for peace with the Greeks.
388-315 BC - Heraclides of
Pontus explains the daily rotation of the stars by assuming that the Earth
spins on its axis. He also discovers that Mercury and Venus revolve around
the Sun instead of the Earth.
360 BC - Flying Pigeon
of Archytas made.
310-230 BC - Aristarchus
of Samos proposes that the Earth revolves around the Sun.
276-196 BC - Eratosthenes,
a Greek astronomer, measures the circumference of the Earth. He also finds
the differences between planets and stars and prepares a star catalog.
250 BC - Heron's
aeolipile, which used steam
power, was made.
150 BC - Hipparchus of Nicaea
tries to measure the size of the sun and the moon. He also works on a theory
to explain planetary motion and composes a star catalog with 850 entries.
46-120 AD - Plutarch sets
forth in his De facie in orbe lunae (On the Face of the Moon's Disk) 70
AD, that the moon is a small Earth inhabited by intelligent beings. He
also puts forth theories that lunar markings are due to defects in our
eyes, reflections from the Earth, or deep ravines filled with water or
127-141 AD - Ptolomy publishes
Almagest (aka Megiste Syntaxis-Great Collection), which states that the
Earth is a central globe, with the universe revolving around it.
150 AD - Lucian of Samosata's
True History is published, the first science fiction story about Moon voyages.
He also later does Icaromenippus, another moon-voyage story.
800 AD - Baghdad becomes
the astronomical study center of the world.
1010 AD - The Persian poet
Firdaus publishes a 60,000-verse epic poem, Sh_h-N_ma, about cosmic travel.
1232 AD - Rockets ("arrows
of flying fire") used at the siege of Kai-fung-fu.
1271 AD - Robert Anglicus
attempts to document surface and weather conditions on planets.
1380 AD - T. Przypkowski
1395-1405 AD - Konrad Kyeser
von Eichstädt produces Bellifortis, describing many military rockets.
1405 AD - Von Eichstädt
writes about sky-rockets.
1420 AD - Fontana designs
1543 AD - Nicolaus
Copernicus publishes De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions
of the Celestial Orbs), reviving Aristarchus' heliocentric theory.
1546-1601 AD - Tycho Brahe
measures positions of stars and planets. Supports heliocentric theory.
1564-1642 AD - Galileo
Galilei first uses the telescope to observe the skies. Discovers sunspots,
four major satellites on Jupiter (1610), and Venus' phases. Defends Copernican
theory in Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo (Dialogue of the
Two Chief Systems of the World), 1632.
1571-1630 AD - Johannes
Kepler derives the three great laws of planetary motion: planetary
orbits are ellipses with the sun as one focus of the directly related to
its distance from the Sun. Findings were published in Astronomia nova (New
Astronomy), 1609, and De harmonice mundi (On the Harmony of the World),
1591 AD - Von Schmidlap writes
a book about non-military rockets. Proposes rockets stabilized by sticks
and rockets mounted on rockets for extra power.
1608 AD - Telescopes
1628 AD - Mao Yuan-I makes
the Wu Pei Chih, describing gunpowder and rocket manufacture and use.
- Posthumous publication of Kepler's Somnium (Dream), a science fiction
entry defending heliocentrism.
1638 AD - Posthumous publication
of Francis Goodwin's The Man in the Moon: or a Discourse of Voyage Thither,
under the pseudonym Domingo Gonsales. It puts forth, after much fiction,
the theory that the attraction from the Earth is greater than that from
the moon Publication of John Wilkins' Discovery of a New World; or, a Discourse
tending to prove, that 'tis probable there may be another Habitable World
in that planet was, unlike Goodwin's story, based in fact. Sir Thomas Caresme
develops an allegorical fireworks display.
1642-1727 AD - Isaac
Newton synthesizes recent astronomical discoveries through universal
gravitation in his famed, Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica
(Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), 1687.
1649, 1652 AD - Cyrano's
reference to "fire-crackers" in his novels, Voyage dans la Lune (Voyage
to the Moon) and Histoire des États etc Empires du Soleil (History
of the States and Empires of the Sun). Both contained the newest scientific
theories, though fanciful.
1668 AD - Rocket experiments
near Berlin by the German colonel, Christoph von Geissler.
1672 AD - Cassini, an Italian
astronomer, predicts the distance between Earth and Sun to be 86,000,000
1686 AD - Bernard de Fontenelle's
popular astronomy book, Entretiens sur la Pluralité des Mondes (Discourses
on the Plurality of Worlds) published. Contained speculations about the
habitability of the planets
1690 AD - Gabriel Daniel's
Voiage du Monde de Descartes (Voyage to the World of Descartes) discusses
the soul's separation from the body in order to go to the "Globe of the
1698 AD - Christian
renowned scientist, writes Cosmotheoros, or Conjectures Concerning the
Planetary Worlds, a non-fictional premise on life on other planets.
AD - 1850 AD
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