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Dictionary of Astrological and Astronomical Terms

Compiled by Julene Packer-Louis, Evan Bortnick, and Jackie Goldstein

Copyright 2000-2020 OCA, Inc. All rights reserved. No portion of the dictionary may be reproduced in any form without written permission.


Kepler, Johannes (1571-1630)

The gifted German theoretical mathematician who uncovered the law's of planetary motion. He was the first person to question the Greek view that heavenly bodies moved in perfect circles. Using data, meticulously gathered by Tycho Brahe in the early 17th century, specifically that on Mars, Kepler was able to formulate the three basic laws that govern orbital motion. However, his laws remained unexplained, and therefore not believed, until Edmund Haley (of Haley's comet fame), brought Kepler's works to the attention of Issac Newton in 1685. Combined with Newton's Laws of Motion and later his Law of Universal Gravitation, Kepler's work was finally vindicated.

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