Experimental Astronomy

, Volume 25, Issue 1–3, pp 241–259 | Cite as

History of astronomical discoveries

  • Malcolm Longair
Review Article


The wide diversity of routes to astronomical, astrophysical and cosmological discovery is discussed through a number of historical case studies. Prime ingredients for success include new technology, precision observation, extensive databases, capitalising upon discoveries in cognate disciplines, imagination and luck. Being in the right place at the right time is a huge advantage. The changing perspectives on the essential tools for tackling frontier problems and astronomical advance are discussed.


Astronomy Astrophysics Cosmology Discovery History 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cavendish LaboratoryUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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