Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 689-689


Fabricius, David

BornEsens, (Niedersachsen, Germany), 9 March 1564

DiedResterhave, (Niedersachsen, Germany), 7 May 1617

David Fabricius is remembered today as the discoverer of the long-period variable star Mira in the constellation of Cetus.

David Fabricius was a Lutheran clergyman who pursued interests in astrology, astronomy, and cartography on a highly sophisticated level. The son of a smith, Fabricius attended Latin school in Braunschweig, where he studied mathematics and astronomy with Heinrich Lampe. Fabricius entered the University of Helmstadt in 1583 to study theology, and shortly thereafter established a home with his new wife in the East Frisian village of Resterhave.

In 1596, while observing Jupiter in the constellation of Cetus, Fabricius discovered the variable star Mira Ceti. He later wrote several tracts on this discovery, comparing its significance with the supernova of 1572. Having initiated a correspondence with Tycho Brahe, Fabricius visited Brahe in Wandsberg in 1598. Fabricius soon b ...

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