. On this day in 1799 – March 19th – the English physician, clergyman and astronomer William Rutter Dawes was born in London.
Dawes is probably best known for the Dawes' Limit, the formula he devised to determine the theoretical limit of the resolving power of a telescope. For his research into double stars the Royal Astronomical Society presented him with their Gold Medal in 1855.
. On this day in 1958 – March 20th – the London Planetarium opened to the public.
For nearly half a century the planetarium received school children and tourists with presentations about astronomy and space. The planetarium was part of the site of Madame Tussauds, and the owners closed it in 2006 in order to use the area for entertainment presentations.
. On this day in 1749 – March 23rd – Pierre-Simon Laplace was born.
Laplace was a brilliant French mathematician, astronomer, and physicist who is sometimes called "France's Newton". He accounted for the observed deviations of planets from their theoretical orbits by applying Newton's theory of gravitation to the problem.
. On this day in 1893 – March 24th – German astronomer Walter Baade was born.
Baade, who worked at Mt Wilson Observatory in California for many years, defined two distinct populations of stars, and his discovery that there are two types of Cepheid variable star meant that his recalculation of the known universe doubled the size calculated by Hubble.
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