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Flashbacks

Flashback to a Time When People Believed the Earth was The Center of the Universe

Join the Celestial Police in their search for the "missing planet" between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars. Discover technological breakthroughs that revolutionized the study of asteroids.

1530
1596
copernicus
Nicholas Copernicus sparked controversy by challenging the widely accepted belief that the Earth was the center of the universe. Thinking Outside the Box!
Kepler
Using physics and mathematics to study astronomy, Johannes Kepler concluded that there must be an undiscovered planet between Jupiter and Mars. Between Jupiter and Mars, I Place a Planet
1608
1801
First Telescope sketch
Breakthrough technology—the invention of the telescope—revolutionizes astronomy. Seeing Faraway Things as Though Nearby, Of Glass and Light
PiazziGiuseppe Piazzi, one of the Celestial Police who searched for the "missing planet," discovered Ceres. It Was a Dark and Starry Night
1802
1802
Carl Freidrich Gauss
Astronomers were unable to verify Piazzi’s discovery until mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss developed a method for predicting where Ceres could be found. The Lost is Found
Olbers
Months after the rediscovery of Ceres, amateur astronomer Wilhelm Olbers discovered Pallas. Astronomers began to question what else resided between Jupiter and Mars. Astronomical Serendipity
1807
1840
starfield
After Vesta was discovered in March of 1807, no additional asteroids were found until 1845, due to the technological limitations of early 19th-century telescopes. What Can You See With a Telescope?
moon
New photographic technology was applied to astronomy for the first time in 1840 when a lasting image of the moon was captured. Silver to the Rescue
1845
1950
telescope
On December 8, 1845, amateur astronomer Karl Hencke accidentally discovered Astraea, ending the nearly 39-yearl lull and sparking a flurry of new asteroid discoveries. Astronomical Sport With Bigger and Better Telescopes
photomultiplier
Between 1890 and 1930, a total of 1140 asteroids were discovered. Furthermore, from 1929 through the 1980s, new technologies emerged that benefited asteroid research. More Discoveries …Better Descriptions
1990
1991
Hubble Space telescope
Launching in April 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope offered astronomers, space enthusiasts, and the general public a “window on the universe.” I Can See You More Clearly Now
Dawn Spacecraft
The development of rocket and spacecraft technologies provided an opportunity to send unmanned or robotic spacecraft to gather data on asteroids Modern Era of Asteroid Study
2015
vesta and Ceres
Journey to the beginning of the Solar System with the Dawn mission as it explores Vesta and Ceres. Current Mission Status