Overview

The following is a meta-analysis ranking of the **top 100+ greatest astronomers **, culled from a variety of sources, e.g. top 1000 geniuses and Murray 4000, along with extant top 10+ polls and rankings, as listed at bottom of this page:

IQ | Person | Astronomy Rankings | Overview | |

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1. | — 56 | Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) | (Murray 4000:5|A) | (Cattell 1000:341) [RGM:14|1,500+] (Gottlieb 1000:18) [Kanowitz 50:15] (GPE:35) [CR:136] Polish mathematician, astronomer, and physician; “ Copernicus is the ‘master’ who dared to take the first step.”— Galileo (1597), “Letter to Kepler” Known as the "next Ptolemy" (Reinhold, 1542), noted for his 1514 forty-page booklet “Little Commentary” (Commentariolus), in which he began to lay out the basics of his heliocentric model of the universe, as opposed to the older geocentric model of the universe, eventually publishing the finalized version as the 1543 On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres, the “first book in nearly 1,400-years to rival Ptolemy’s Almagest” (Repcheck, 2007), which introduced the revolutionary idea to the world that the “earth moves” or that "the earth is moving and the stars are at rest" (Anon, 1542), a view opposed to that of the older 350BC physics model of Aristotle that the earth is the center of the universe and stationary. |

2. | — 11 | Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) | (Murray 4000:2|A) | (Cattell 1000:46) [RGM:4|1,500+] (Murray 4000:2|CS / 5|P / 2|A) (EP:10) [GPE:5] (GAE:2) [CR:273] Italian physicist, astronomer, and philosopher, |

3. | — 221 | Ptolemy (c.100-170) | (Murray 4000:6|A) | (Cattell 1000:80) [RGM:98|1,500+] (Murray 4000:12|CS / 6A) (Eells 100:23) (GAE:3) (CR:45) Greco-Egyptian mathematician and astronomer; in his 130AD Syntaxis Mathematica, he supposedly was the first to introduce the zero number; his 150AD Aristotle-based Ptolemaic "geocentric model" (adjacent), was not superseded for some thirteen centuries, namely until Nicolaus Copernicus established the heliocentric model (1543); |

4. | — 91 | Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) | (Murray 4000:2|A) | (Cattell 1000:157) [RGM:18|1,500+] (Murray 4000:4|CS / 2|A) (GAE:4) [CR:100] German mathematician and astronomer; a fabled "last persons to know everything", known for his 1619 three laws of planetary motion, according to which planets, based on the Copernican model, move not in spherical but rather “elliptical” orbits, which he derived from astronomical observations made by Tycho Brahe, that planets move faster at perihelion and slower at aphelion, according to geometric rules, and that "a line between the sun and the planet sweeps equal areas in equal times" (second law), as shown adjacent; his work provided foundations for Isaac Newton’ theory of universal gravitation; down-grade ↓ for believing that planets were moved by angels flapping their wings (see: Ra). |

5. | — 2 | Isaac Newton (1643-1727) | (Cattell 1000:14) (Gottlieb 1000:6) [RGM:3|1,500+] (Murray 4000:2|CS / 1|P / 2|M) (EPD:F0) (GR:1) (SIG:1) (RE:84) [CR:866] English physicist, chemistry, mathematician, and philosopher; | |

6. | — 3 | Albert Einstein (1879-1955) | (Gottlieb 1000:17) [RGM:2|1,500+] (Murray 4000:9|CS / 2|P) (LGS:1) [Kanowitz 50:2] [Cropper 30:1|R] (GPE:1) (HD:52) (RE:76) [CR:737] German physicist, astronomer, and philosopher; his 1919 general theory of relativity predicted the existence of gravitational waves (as shown adjacent). | |

— 502 | Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) | [RGM:78|1,500+] (Murray 4000:7|A) (Gottlieb 1000:202) (Simmons 100:22) (CR:6) Danish astronomer; “For those [observations] that I made in Leipzig in my youth and up to my 21st year, I usually call childish and of doubtful value. Those that I took later until my 28th year [i.e., until 1574] I call juvenile and fairly serviceable. The third group, however, which I made at Uraniborg during approximately the last 21 years with the greatest care and with very accurate instruments at a more mature age, until I was fifty years of age, those I call the observations of my manhood, completely valid and absolutely certain, and this is my opinion of them.” — Tycho Brahe (1598), description of instruments and scientific work built on the Copernican model to make is Brahe model of the world (adjacent); colorful character (Ѻ); gather the data, used by Johannes Kepler, to formulate the laws of planetary motion | ||

7. | — 112 | Heraclides (387-312BC) | Greek philosopher and astronomer; proposed that the earth rotates on its axis [compare: Ecphantus (c.500BC)]; posited that the soul was light; did battle with Aristotle, supposedly, on the question whether the universe is finite or infinite; and is rumored, according to Simplicius (c.590AD), to have formulated heliocentrism (or at least the precursor model to what Aristarchus (c.240BC) put into book form). | |

8. | — 267 | Hipparchus (190-120BC) | (Cattell 1000:781) [RGM:637|1,330+] (Murray 4000:10|A) (GAE:8) was a Greek astronomer, geographer, and mathematician; “ Hipparchus was a lover of truth (phila-lēthēs).”— Ptolemy (c.150), founder of trigonometry; famous for his incidental discovery of precession of the equinoxes | |

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11. | — 700 | Hans Lipperhey (1570-1619) | (CR:3) German-born Dutch spectacle maker; he is generally credited (Ѻ) with the invention of the telescope or “Dutch perspective glass”; a device he tried to obtain a patent for in 1608; news of this design reached the ears of Galileo, who improved on the designs; on 7 Jan 1610, Galileo had built a new improved 30 power telescope (shown adjacent), and pointed it towards Jupiter, and found three small, bright stars near the planet (Ѻ); that year, he published a small book titled The Starry Messenger, outlining his findings; | |

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15. | — 46 | Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) | (Cattell 1000:655) (RGM:138|1,500+) (FA:47) (GAE:15) [CR:118] Italian philosopher, mathematician, astronomer, and priest; “There is no absolute up or down, as Aristotle taught; no absolute position in space; but the position of a body is relative to that of other bodies. Everywhere there is incessant relative change in position throughout the universe, and the observer is always at the center of things.” — Giordano Bruno (1584), Burned at the stake for refusing to recant his belief in atoms and a universe made of multiple solar systems; | |

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20. | Karl Schwarzschild (1873-1916) | (GPE:95) (CR:2) German physicist and astronomer, noted in radiation thermodynamics, for his 1915 derivation of the so-called the “Schwarzschild radius”, which is the radius of the event horizon of a non-rotating black hole. | ||

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Discussion

The following is the succession of astronomical genius, before and after Copernicus:

→ Aristotle→Ptolemy→ Al-Battani→ Regiomontanus→Copernicus→ Brahe→ Kepler→Galileo→ Newton

In this mix, we note that Galileo, in discussion with Kepler, called Copernicus "the master" who dared to take the first step.

Murray 4000

In 2003, Charles Murray, in his Murray 4000, a top 20 category grouping from a larger analyzed collection of 4,139 biggest names of history, produced the following top 20 ranking of astronomers:

1. Galileo

2. Johannes Kepler

3. William Herschel

4. Pierre Laplace

5. Nicolaus Copernicus

6. Ptolemy

7. Tycho Brahe

8. Edmond Halley

9. Giovanni Cassini

10. Hipparchus

11. Walter Baade

12. Edwin Hubble

13. Friedrich Bessel

14. William Huggins

15. George Ellery Hale

16. Arthur Eddington

17. Ejnar Hertzsprung

18. Heinrich Olbers

19. Gerard Kuiper

20. Johannes Hevelius

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Chao top 10

In Feb 2013, Tom Chao, in his Space.com article “The Most Famous Astronomers of All Time”, gave the following chronologically ranked list: [1]

1. Ptolemy

2. Nicolaus Copernicus

3. Johannes Kepler

4. Galileo

5. Isaac Newton

6. Christiaan Huygens

7. Giovanni Cassini

8. Charles Messier

9. Albert Einstein

10. Carl Sagan

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Total History | Top 30

In 2013, the Total History YouTube channel, in their “Famous Astronomers: 30 Greatest Astronomers in History” (Ѻ), a video based on an earlier 2012 online list of “Famous Astronomers” (Ѻ), produced the following chronological listing:

1. Aristarchus of Samos 2. Hipparchus 3. Ptolemy 4. Aryabhata 5. Al-Kindi 6. Bhaskara 7. Nasir al-Din al-Tusi 8. Nicolaus Copernicus 9. Tycho Brahe 10. Galileo Galilei | 11. Johannes Kepler 12. Christiaan Huygens 13. Edmund Halley 14. Charles Messier 15. Joseph Lagrange 16. William Herschel 17. Pierre Laplace 18. Caroline Herschel 19. Johann Galle 20. Annie Jump Cannon | 21. Edwin Hubble 22. Fritz Zwicky 23. George Gamow 24. Clyde Tombaugh 25. Thomas Gold 26. Carl Sagan 27. Stephen Hawking 28. Jocelyn Bell 29. Neil Tyson 30. Michael Brown |

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Jaramillo top 10

In 2014, Eduardo Jaramillo, in his ListVerse.com article “Top 10 Most Important Astronomers” (Ѻ), produced the following list:

1. Galileo

2. Hipparchus

3. Edwin Hubble

4. Johannes Keppler

5. William Herschel

6. Nicolaus Copernicus

7. Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson

8. Tycho Brahe

9. Ptolemy

10. Charles Messier

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Star-Name | Top 11

In 2017, an anon writer, in their “The Most Famous Astronomers of All Time” (Ѻ), produced the following list:

1. Ptolemy

2. Nicolaus Copernicus

3. Johannes Kepler

4. Galileo

5. Isaac Newton

6. Christiaan Huygens

7. Giovanni Cassini

8. Charles Messier

9. Albert Einstein

10. Carl Sagan

11. Stephen Hawking

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Google | Top Astronomers

In Apr 2020, the Google search term “greatest astronomer ever”, yielded an algorithmic order of images, as shown adjacent, ranked as follows:

1. Galileo 2. Albert Einstein 3. Nicolaus Copernicus 4. Johannes Kepler 5. Isaac Newton 6. Ptolemy 7. Edwin Hubble 8. Carl Sagan 9. Tycho Brahe 10. William Herschel | 11. Hipparchus 12. Charles Messier 13. Christiaan Huygens 14. Edmond Halley 15. Aristarchus of Samos 16. Henrietta Leavitt 17. Giovanni Domenico 18. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar 19. Caroline Herschel 20. Eratosthenes | 21. Robert Wilson 22. Arno Penzias 23. Annie Cannon 24. Frank Drake 25. Harlow Shapley 26. Kip Thorne 27. George Gamow 28. Clyde Tombaugh 29. Arthur Eddington 30. Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi | 31, Michael Brown 33. Neil Tyson 34. Pierre Laplace 35. Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin 36. Brahmagupta 37. William Hartmann 38. Georges Lemaitre 39. Karl Jansky 40. Thomas Gold | 41. Joseph Lagrange 42. Hans Bethe 43. Antony Hewish 44. Jean Richer 45. Fred Hoyle 46. Pythagoras 47. Joseph Fraunhofer 48. John Herschel 49. Eudoxus of Cnidus 50. Nasir al-Din al-Tusi |

The following is a screen shot of this Google top 50 listing:

The above list, of note, ends with: Maria Mitchell (#51), for some reason.

Quotes

The following are related quotes:

“Al-Battani and al-Fargani are astronomers of the first rank among Arabs.”— Otto Guericke (1672),New Magdeburg Experiments on the Vacuum of Space(pg. 57) [1]

References

1. Chao, Tom. (2013). “The Most Famous Astronomers of All Time” (Ѻ), Space.com, Feb 5.

2. Guericke, Otto. (1663).