Aristarchus of Samos
BornSamos, (Greece), circa310 BCE
Aristarchus as astronomer and mathematician has not always been given the credit he deserves by historians of science, even though he made two remarkable contributions to astronomy: a heliocentric solar system and estimates of the relative sizes and distances of the Sun and the Moon.
Aristarchus was a native of the island of Samos, and a contemporary of Euclid and Archimedes. Not very much is known of his early life or his work except for comments by later writers or his contemporaries. Only one of his works is extant, Aristarchus on the Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon, which is the oldest surviving mathematical work on determining the sizes of the Sun and the Moon in terms of the dimensions of the Earth and the relative distance to the Sun in terms of the distance to the Moon. He reportedly also wrote on vision, light, and colors. Aëtius tells us that Aristarchus was a pupil of Strato of Lampsacus, either in Athens or in...
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