In the 1880s, the Harvard Observatory director was frustrated with his staff, and would say “My Scottish maid could do better!” So, he hired his Scottish maid. Williamina Fleming ran a team for decades, classified tens of thousands of stars, & discovered white dwarfs and the Horsehead Nebula.
Astronomer Harlow Shapley, confused about what to study, decided to take the first class listed in university’s catalog. Unable to pronounce “archaeology,” he skipped to the next listing “astronomy.” He went on to become one of the famous 20th century astronomers.
In 1953, an amateur astronomer saw and photographed a bright white light on the lunar surface. He believed it was a rare asteroid impact, but professional astronomers dismissed and disputed “Stuart’s Event” for 50 years. In 2003, NASA looked for and found the crater.
Planetary scientist Eugene Shoemaker is the only human in history to have their ashes buried on the moon.
A 18C. astronomer went to India to see a Transit of Venus. Delayed, he missed it, but decided to stay for the next one, in 8 years. The second try was clouded out. 3 years later he returned to France to find he’d been declared dead, his wife had remarried, and his estate was gone.
Astronomer Percival Lowell believed that he was the first person to observe canals on Venus, but because of a faulty adjustment of the eyepiece of his telescope, he was in fact looking at the blood vessels in his own eye.
The astronomer Tycho Brahe not only owned a tame moose. That moose died by falling down a flight of stairs while drunk.