Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso


  • Therese Encrenaz
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_744-3


Christiaan Huygens (1629–1695) was born in The Hague (Netherlands). He studied law and mathematics in Leiden and then studied and built microscopes and telescopes. With his own telescope, he discovered Titan, Saturn’s biggest satellite, in 1655. In 1659, he found the explanation of the changing appearance of Saturn, due to its rings, which he published in Systema Saturnium. In 1656, he built the first pendulum clock with the objective of determining longitudes at sea. He developed in his Traité de la Lumière the first wave theory of light. His posthumous work, Cosmotheoros, published in 1698, deals with the nature of the universe and the habitability of other worlds. The probe of the Cassini-Huygens mission, which landed on Titan’s surface on January 14, 2005, was named after him.

See Also


Bioorganic Chemistry Wave Theory Pendulum Clock 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LESIA - Bâtiment ISO (n°17)Observatoire de Paris - Section de MeudonMeudonFrance