Regiomontanus or Johannes Müller von Königsberg (Astronomer, Mathematician, Astrologer) 1436-1476

Regiomontanus Demographics:
  • Name - Johannes Müller von Königsberg.
  • Other names - Full Latin name Joannes de Regio monte, abbreviated to Regiomontanus; Johannes Müller, der Königsberger (Johannes Müller of Königsberg).
  • Birth - 6 June 1436
  • Birth place - Franconian village of Unfinden near Königsberg, Bavaria.
  • Death - 6 July 1476 (probably bubonic plague)
  • Death place - Rome
  • Nationality - German
  • Occupation - Astronomer, Astrologer & Mathematician.
Regiomontanus Early Life & Education:
  • Student prodigy at the university in Leipzig, 11 years of age.
  • Continued his studies at Alma Mater Rudolfina, the university in Vienna, Austria.
  • Was pupil & friend of Georg von Peurbach.
  • Degree of "magister artium" (Master of Arts) in 1457 from University of Vienna.
  • Then went on to teach optics & ancient literature.
Adult Life:
  • Regiomontanus was internationally famous in his lifetime.
  • From 1461 to 1465 Regiomontanus lived & worked at Cardinal Bessarion's house in Rome.
  • In 1467 Regiomontanus left Rome to work at the court of Matthias Corvinus of Hungary.
  • Whilst in Hungary he calculated extensive astronomical tables & built numerous astronomical instruments.
  • In 1471 he then moved to the Free City of Nuremberg, in Franconia.
  • In 1475 he went to Rome to work with Pope Sixtus IV on calendar reform.
  • On the way to Rome he published his "Ephemeris" in Venice.
  • Regiomontanus died in Rome, July 6, 1476, probably from bubonic plague, though others suggest he may have been assassinated.

Regiomontanus & Astronomy:
  • He was arguably the most important astronomer of the fifteenth century.
  • Regiomontanus built astrolabes for Matthias Corvinus of Hungary & Cardinal Bessarion.
  • He built a portable sundial for Pope Paul II in 1465.
  • Regiomontanus was a geocentrist, after the teachings of Ptolemy.
  • He is famous for having built, at Nuremberg, the first astronomical observatory in Germany.
  • Nicolaus Copernicus' teacher, Domenico Maria Novara da Ferrara, is reported as referring to Regiomontanus as his own teacher.
  • See image of Regiomontanus Sun Calendar (opposite)
Regiomontanus & Astrology:
  • Regiomontanus apprently became less interested in astrology over his lifetime.
  • As a result Regiomontanus concentrated his efforts more on mathematical astronomy to model the celestial motions more accurately.
  • Christopher Columbus used Regiomontanus' "Ephemeris" in 1504 (whilst stranded for a year on Jamaica) to successfully predict a lunar eclipse for the 29 February 1504, so astounding the natives, and inducing them to give supplies to his voyage.
Written Works:
  • De Triangulis omnimodus (1464) - On Triangles detailed the current state of trigonometry.
  • Epytoma in almagesti Ptolemei - Nicolaus Copernicus commented that this had an influence on his own work.
  • "Theoricae novae Planetarum" (1472) - astronomical textbook of his teacher Georg von Peurbach.
Regiomontanus Quotes:
"You who wish to study great and wonderful things, who wonder about the movement of the stars, must read these theorems about triangles. Knowing these ideas will open the door to all of astronomy and to certain geometric problems."
Cultural Acknowledgements:
  • The crater Regiomontanus on the Moon is named after him.

Image Credit - by oschene (cc)

Posted by ALCHEssMIST.
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