Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Fabricius, Johann

  • Paul Charbonneau
Reference work entry

Alternate Name

 Goldsmid, Johann

BornResterhave, (Niedersachsen, Germany), 8 January 1587

Died19 March 1616

Johann Fabricius was one of the first astronomers to observe sunspots with a telescope, and the first to publish an account of his observations.

Fabricius was the eldest son among the seven children of famed astronomer, astrologer, and Lutheran Pastor  David Fabricius. Johann first studied medicine, mathematics, and astronomy at the University of Helmstedt in 1605, and then enrolled at Wittenberg University the following year. In December 1609 he moved on to Leiden University, where he matriculated as a student of medicine, but was eventually awarded a Magister Philosophiae degree in September 1611.

While in Leiden, sometime near the end of 1610, Fabricius acquired one or more telescopes, which he brought home to his father’s house in Osteel. Already well aware of the astronomical potential of the telescope from  Galileo Galilei’s Sidereus Nuncius, the father-and-son team began...
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Selected References

  1. Berthold, G. (1894). Der Magister Johann Fabricius und die Sonnenflecken. Leipzig: Verlag von Veit and Co. (This remains the standard reference on Johann Fabricius.)Google Scholar
  2. Hufbauer, Karl (1991). Exploring the Sun: Solar Science since Galileo. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Mitchell, Walter M. (1916). “The History of the Discovery of the Solar Spots: Johann Fabricius.” Popular Astronomy 24: 153–162. (This offers an unabridged English translation of the portion of Johann Fabricius’ Narratio describing his sunspot observations and related conclusions, from which the above extract is taken verbatim.)Google Scholar
  4. Rüdiger, G. (1989). Differential Rotation and Stellar Convection. New York: Gordon and Breach.Google Scholar
  5. Wattenberg, Diedrich (1964). David Fabricius: Der Astronomen Ostfieslands. Berlin-Treptow: Archenhold-Sternwarte.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MontréalMontréalCanada