Pioneering astronomers

From the objects and instruments used to explore space to the men who mapped the stars, we provide an insight into some of the most groundbreaking astronomical discoveries of our time and the people who made them happen.


The story of Astronomer Royal George Biddell Airy and the remarkable Airy Transit Circle telescope he designed at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.


Astronomer George Biddell Airy designed the legendary Airy Transit Circle telescope which defined the Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

28 inch Visual Refractor Telescope Royal Observatory L8627-028_tile.JPG

Useful tips from the space experts at the Royal Observatory Greenwich on how to become an astronomer

Galileo Galilei, Niccolo Cecconi.jpg

Galileo pioneered the use of the telescope for observing the night sky. His discoveries undermined traditional ideas about a perfect and unchanging cosmos with the Earth at its centre.

Caroline Herschel.jpg

Caroline discovered eight comets, revised Flamsteed's Star Catalogue, and became the first paid female astronomer in history.

Apollo 11 crew primary image © NASA

Michael Collins is the often forgotten third astronaut on the Apollo 11 mission. He remained in the Command Module as Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon’s surface in 1969.

Apollo 10 command module

2019 is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission and man landing on the Moon. But this year also sees the anniversaries of Apollo 9 and 10. 

Apollo 11 lunar module © NASA

Who were the Apollo 11 crew? When did they land? How exactly did they get there?

Valentina Tereshkova

We know the names of the first men in space, and on the Moon - but what about the women?


John Goodricke and Konstantin Tsiolkowski, both deaf, were among the most remarkably gifted of astronomers.