Thomas Wright, English astronomer

Thomas Wright, English astronomer

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Thomas Wright of Durham (1711-1786), English astronomer and natural philosopher. After training as a scientific instrument maker, he moved on to become a teacher of mathematics. In 1750, he published the Original Theory of the Universe, which speculated on the structure of the cosmos. He described the Milky Way as a long bar filled with stars, which also contained our Sun. He used this to explain why there were apparently more stars in the circle of the Milky Way, and few at right angles to it. He also described the rings of Saturn as being composed of many small satellites, shown to be true years later. These theories were not based on observation, however.

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Keywords: artwork, astronomer, astronomy, black-and-white, durham, galactic, galaxy, illustration, male, man, milky way, monochrome, natural philosopher, portraits, ring, saturn, surname w, theorist, thomas, wright

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