LINKS: Star-Crossed History

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Science  18 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5520, pp. 1267
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5520.1267d

Sure, you've heard of Johannes Kepler and his laws of planetary motion, but how about Benjamin Banneker, an 18th century black Maryland farmer and self-taught astronomer who won fame for his eclipse predictions? If you're interested in such tidbits or an overview of astronomy's highlights, then pay a visit to the History of Astronomy's links-packed site.

The site was started in 1995 by German astronomers' Working Group on the History of Astronomy and later gained the imprimatur of the International Astronomical Union. Maintained by Wolfgang Dick on a server at Bonn University, it includes 400 pages with over 8000 links (including some dead ones; Dick checks them as time allows). The Persons section lists Web biographies and other information for a whopping 1800 figures with ties to astronomy—from Ptolemy to Muslim trigonometrist Abul Wafa to Sally Ride, first U.S. woman in space. Click on Topics to learn about antique telescopes or calendars (Chinese to Gregorian) or how Columbus navigated. Other links include observatory history pages, museums, libraries, and archives. To keep up on new additions, subscribe to the Working Group's electronic newsletter.

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