The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2007 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, F. Jamil Ragep, JoAnn Palmeri, Marvin Bolt

Markgraf, Georg

  • Keith Snedegar
Reference work entry

BornLiebstadt near Dresden, (Germany), 30 September 1610

DiedSão Paulo de Loanda, (Angola), 1643 or 1644

Naturalist Georg Markgraf made the first systematic astronomical observations of the southern skies. At the age of 16, Markgraf began a tour of Central European universities including Strasbourg, Basle, Ingolstadt, Altdorf, Erfurt, Wittenberg, Leipzig, Griefswald, Rostock, and Stettin, before finally matriculating at the University of Leiden in September 1636. Markgraf officially studied medicine. One of his instructors there was Jacob Gool, the noted astronomer and arabist. Another Leiden astronomer, Samuel Kechel, was also a close associate. By June 1636 Markgraf was in Brazil, where he was to remain for the next 8 years, probably in the employment of Johan Maurits van Nassau‐Siegen, who was expanding Dutch interests in South America. Markgraf busied himself in compiling detailed maps of the region, collecting specimens of flora and fauna, and making astronomical observations.

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Selected Reference

  1. North, J. D. (1979). “Georg Markgraf: An Astronomer in the New World.” In Johan Maurits van Nassau‐Siegen 1604–1679 … Essays on the Occasion of the Tercentenary of His Death, edited by E. van den Boogaart, pp. 394–423. The Hague: Johan Maurits van Nassau Stichting.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2007

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  • Keith Snedegar

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