The Jeremiah Horrocks Biography is very important in the history of British astronomy
The Jeremiah Horrocks biography
may be short but his contributions helped change astronomy. He would later become known as the Father of British Astronomy.
The Jeremiah Horrocks biography begins during a time when little more that the earth was round was known. It was a time of witchcraft and alchemy. Jeremiah Horrocks was born in 1618 in Toxteth, Liverpool, England. His father was a farmer and a deeply religious Puritan. Jeremiah Horrocks was very brilliant and entered Cambridge University at the age of 14.
Jeremiah Horrocks and astronomy
He read everything he could on the works of German astronomer Johannes Kepler who wrote the laws of planetary motion. Kepler had correctly predicted the Venus transit of 1631. Kepler predicted the next one would be in 1756. Horrocks disagreed with these calculations and that they occurred in pairs, eight years apart. The next would be either 105 years or 121 years later. So this would make the next transit come due in 1639. Horrocks and one other person, his friend William Crabtree witnessed his prediction come true on November 24, 1639.
Jeremiah Horrocks was only 20 years old at the time and to disagree with a famous astronomer was unheard of. Then to be able to see it occur as he predicted was amazing. He went on to calculate the sizes of the Sun and other planets in the solar system. He went against common religious views by showing the Sun as well as Jupiter and Saturn were larger than the Earth. People like Giordano Bruno had been burned at the stake just a short 20 years earlier for such beliefs.
He went on to say the planets shine because of reflecting the Sun’s light, confirmed Galileo’s discovery of Jupiter’s four moons and what comets were. He began to observe tides before he was 20 years old. He came up with his own theory of gravity before Newton was even born.
The Jeremiah Horrocks biography ends when he died unexpectedly on January 3, 1641, a short year and two months after his prediction came true
Return to the Astronomy For Kids Online homepage from this Jeremiah Horrocks Biography page.