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Johannes Kepler   (1571-1630), German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer, best known for his laws of planetary motion.

Carl Sagan described him as the last great astrologer and the first great astronomer.

Kepler was a professor of mathematics at the University of Graz, court mathematician to Emperor Rudolf II, and court astrologer to General Wallenstein. He was an assistant to Tycho Brahe, early in his early career.

Kepler's career coincided with that of Galilei.

Like the astronomers before him, Kepler believed in the "perfection" of the universe and that celestial bodies moved in perfect circles conforming the the Platonic idea of the "perfection" of the circle.

Early in his career, Kepler had been the assistant of Tycho Brahe and, after performing calculations on Brahe's data for twenty years, he concluded that the traditional model of the universe where planets moved in perfect circles was erroneous and that heavenly bodies moved in ellipses.

In 1596, Kepler published The Cosmic Mystery explaining, among other things, the relation between the planets and the platonic solids.

Kepler observed the supernova in the Milky Way, in the constellation of Ophiuchus, which now bears his name on October 17th, 1604 (it had appeared suddenly eight days previously on October 9th). He described the appearance of the new star, which provided more evidence that the universe was changeable and did not conform to the classical ideas of perfection, in his De Stella nova in pede Serpentarii (which also influenced the argument of Galileo).

Kepler's Star is the last known occurence of a supernova in the Milky Way although others have since occured in other galaxies.


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1571.Dec.27Birth of German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler (-1630)
1577Johannes Kepler, aged 6, taken to see a comet
1580Johannes Kepler, aged 9, taken to see an eclipse of the Moon
1591Johannes Kepler graduates from the University of T�bingen to persue graduate studies in theology
1594.AprJohannes Kepler takes Mathematics faculty position at Gratz, Austria
1597.AprJohannes Kepler marries Barbara Muehleck (-1611)
1599.DecTycho Brahe writes inviting Johannes Kepler to assist him at Benatek nr. Prague
1601.NovJohannes Kepler appointed imperial mathematician to the Hapsburg Emperor, after the death of Tycho Brahe
1604Supernova 1604 is observed (the last supernova to be observed in the Milky Way)
The supernova convinces Johannes Kepler that the cosmos is changeable and not fixed
1612.JanJohannes Kepler takes the post of provincial mathematian at Linz
1618.Mar.08Johannes Kepler discovers the third law of panetary motion
He doesnt accept its vaalidity until May 15
1618.May.15Johannes Kepler accepts the third law of panetary motion he discovered in March
1620.AugArrest of Katherine, mother of the mathematician, astronomer and astrologer Johannes Kepler for witchcraft
1621.OctRelease Katherine, mother of the mathematician, astronomer and astrologer Johannes Kepler, arrested for witchcraft in August 1620
1630.Sep.15Death of German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer Johannes Kepler (1571-) of fever at Ratisbon
1631.Dec.06Observation of the first predicted (Johannes Kepler) transit of the planet Venus
1661Death of Barbara, wife of Johannes Kepler, leaving two surviving children

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De Stella nova in pede Serpentarii
Johannes Kepler
The book describes the appearance of the supernova of October 1604 which shattered the idea of a perfect and therefore changeless universe.

The Cosmic Mystery
  by Johannes Kepler, 1596

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