. On this day in 1587 – January 8th – Johannes Fabricius was born in Resterhafe, East Friesland (now part of Germany).
Fabricius was a Frisian/German astronomer, eldest son of David Fabricius who was also an astronomer. In their solar observing, they discovered sunspots about the same time as, and independently of, Galileo.
. On this day in 1942 – January 8th – English theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking was born in Oxford, England. He died in 2018 - today is the 80th anniversary of his birth. It was celebrated by Google..
For thirty years he was the Lucasian Professor at the University of Cambridge, a prestigious post once held by Isaac Newton. Hawking also wrote books on cosmology for the general public, the best known being A Brief History of Time. He was most closely associated with his work on black holes.
. On this day in 1839 – January 9th – Thomas Henderson published his determination of the distance to Alpha Centauri.
Henderson had actually been the first person to calculate the distance to a fixed star by using stellar parallax. However he had delayed publishing his results, and the credit for being first went elsewhere.
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