Invention Timeline – Pierre Gassendi, French Philosopher and Astronomer; First to Observe the Transit of Mercury (1631)Sunday, September 30th, 2007
b. January 22, 1592 and d. October 22, 1655
French philosopher and astronomer. Destined for the Church, he obtained the chairs of philosophy and theology in University of Aix. He was the first disciple of Bacon in France, and a friend of Galileo and Kepler. He was the first to observe the transit of Mercury (1631). The parhelia, the eclipses of Jupiter’s satellites, and the magnetic needle afforded him subjects of profound research. He wrote “The Life, Opinions and Morals of Epicurus” (1647); “The Lives of Tycho Brahe and Copernicus” (1654).
By night-fall shaded,
The red lights from the clouds are faded;
Leaving one palest amber line
To mark the last of day’s decline;
And all o’er heaven is that clear blue
The stars so love to wander through.
They’re rising from the silent deep,
Like bright eyes opening after sleep.
—The Lost Pleiad: L. E. L.
I bear a record of thy wondrous power;
Thou stand’st alone and needest not to shine
With borrowed lustre: for the light is thine
Which no man giveth; and, though comets lower
Portentious round thy sphere, thou still art bright;
Though many a satellite about thee fall,
Leaving their stations merged in trackless night,
Yet take not they from that supernal light
Which lives withint thee, sole, and free of all.-