Chronology of Solar System Astronomy

-2136 Chinese astronomers record a solar eclipse.
-586 Thales of Miletus predicts a solar eclipse.
-350 Aristotle argues for a spherical Earth using lunar eclipses and other observations.
-280 Aristarchus uses the size of the Earth's shadow on the Moon to estimate that the Moon's radius is one-third that of the Earth.
-200 Eratosthenes uses shadows to determine that the radius of the Earth is roughly 6,400 km.
-150 Hipparchus uses parallax to determine that the distance to the Moon is roughly 380,000 km.
-134 Hipparchus discovers the precession of the equinoxes.
1512 Nicholas Copernicus first states his heliocentric theory in Commentariolus.
1543 Nicholas Copernicus shows that his heliocentric theory simplifies planetary motion tables in De Revolutionibus de Orbium Coelestium.
1577 Tycho Brahe uses parallax to prove that comets are distant entities and not atmospheric phenomena.
1609 Johannes Kepler states his first two empirical laws of planetary motion.
1610 Galileo Galilei discovers Callisto, Europa, Ganymede, and Io.
1610 Galileo Galilei sees Saturn's rings but does not recognize that they are rings.
1619 Johannes Kepler states his third empirical law of planetary motion.
1655 Giovanni Cassini discovers Jupiter's great red spot.
1656 Christian Huygens identifies Saturn's rings as rings and discovers Titan and the Orion Nebula.
1665 Giovanni Cassini determines the rotational speeds of Jupiter, Mars, and Venus.
1672 Giovanni Cassini discovers Rhea.
1672 Jean Richer and Giovanni Cassini measure the astronomical unit to be about 138,370,000 km.
1675 Ole Romer uses the orbital mechanics of Jupiter's moons to estimate that the speed of light is about 227,000 km/s.
1705 Edmund Halley publicly predicts the periodicity of Halley's comet and computes its expected path of return in 1758.
1715 Edmund Halley calculates the shadow path of a solar eclipse.
1716 Edmund Halley suggests a high-precision measurement of the Sun-Earth distance by timing the transit of Venus.
1758 Johann Palitzsch observes the return of Halley's comet.
1766 Johann Titius finds the Titius-Bode rule for planetary distances.
1772 Johann Bode publicizes the Titius-Bode rule for planetary distances.
1781 William Herschel discovers Uranus during a telescopic survey of the northern sky.
1796 Pierre Laplace states his nebular hypothesis for the formation of the solar system from a spinning nebula of gas and dust
1801 Giuseppe Piazzi discovers the asteroid Ceres.
1802 Heinrich Olbers discovers the asteroid Pallas.
1821 Alexis Bouvard detects irregularities in the orbit of Uranus.
1825 Pierre Laplace completes his study of gravitation, the stability of the solar system, tides, the precession of the equinoxes, the libration of the Moon, and Saturn's rings in Mecanique Celeste.
1843 John Adams predicts the existence and location of Neptune from irregularities in the orbit of Uranus.
1846 Urbain Leverrier predicts the existence and location of Neptune from irregularities in the orbit of Uranus.
1846 Johann Galle discovers Neptune.
1846 William Lassell discovers Triton.
1849 Edouard Roche finds the limiting radius of tidal destruction and tidal creation for a body held together only by its self gravity and uses it to explain why Saturn's rings do not condense into a satellite.
1856 James Clerk Maxwell demonstrates that a solid ring around Saturn would be torn apart by gravitational forces and argues that Saturn's rings consist of a multitude of tiny satellites.
1866 Giovanni Schiaparelli realizes that meteor streams occur when the Earth passes through the orbit of a comet that has left debris along its path.
1906 Max Wolf discovers the Trojan asteroid Achilles.
1930 Clyde Tombaugh discovers Pluto.
1930 Seth Nicholson measures the surface temperature of the Moon.
1950 Jan Oort suggests the presence of a cometary Oort cloud.
1951 Gerard Kuiper argues for an annular reservoir of comets between 40-100 astronomical units from the Sun.
1977 James Elliot discovers the rings of Uranus during a stellar occultation experiment on the Kuiper Airborne Observatory.
1978 James Christy discovers Charon.
1978 Peter Goldreich and Scott Tremaine present a Boltzmann equation model of planetary-ring dynamics for indestructible spherical ring particles that do not self-gravitate and find a stability requirement relation between ring optical depth and particle normal restitution coefficient.
1988 Martin Duncan, Thomas Quinn, and Scott Tremaine demonstrate that short-period comets come primarily from the Kuiper Belt and not the Oort cloud.