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Famous Astronomers from the United States

Updated October 13, 2018 10.5k views301 items

List of notable or famous astronomers from the United States, with bios and photos, including the top astronomers born in the United States and even some popular astronomers who immigrated to the United States. If you're trying to find out the names of famous American astronomers then this list is the perfect resource for you. These astronomers are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known astronomer from the United States is included when available.

People here include everything from Samuel Pierpont Langley to Benjamin Banneker.

This historic astronomers from the United States list can help answer the questions "Who are some American astronomers of note?" and "Who are the most famous astronomers from the United States?" These prominent astronomers of the United States may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected American astronomers.

Use this list of renowned American astronomers to discover some new astronomers that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. {#nodes}
  • 1
    Dec. at 62 (1934-1996)

    BirthplaceNew York City, USA, New York

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Carl Edward Sagan (; November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy...  more

    The Best Carl Sagan Books#231 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive#263 of 439 Famous Men You'd Want To Have A Beer With

  • 2

    BirthplaceManhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Neil deGrasse Tyson (; born October 5, 1958) is an American astrophysicist, author, and science communicator. Since 1996, he has been the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the...  more

    21 Films Neil deGrasse Tyson Loves (Or Really Hates)#34 of 213 Celebrities Who Should Run For President#13 of 200 The Best Hot Ones Guests Ever

  • 3
    Dec. at 63 (1889-1953)

    BirthplaceMarshfield, Missouri

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Edwin Powell Hubble (November 20, 1889 – September 28, 1953) was an American astronomer. He played a crucial role in establishing the fields of extragalactic astronomy and observational cosmology and...  more
  • 4
    Dec. at 53 (1868-1921)

    BirthplaceLancaster, Massachusetts

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Henrietta Swan Leavitt (; July 4, 1868 – December 12, 1921) was an American astronomer. A graduate of Radcliffe College, she worked at the Harvard College Observatory as a "computer", tasked with...  more
  • 5
    Dec. at 71 (1834-1906)

    BirthplaceRoxbury, Boston, Massachusetts

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Samuel Pierpont Langley (August 22, 1834 – February 27, 1906) was an American astronomer, physicist, inventor of the bolometer and aviation pioneer....  more
  • 6

    BirthplaceCharles City, Iowa

    NationalityUnited States of America

    George Driver "Pinky" Nelson (born (1950-07-13)July 13, 1950) is an American physicist, astronomer, science educator, and a former NASA astronaut....  more
  • 7

    BirthplaceLouth, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited States of America, United Kingdom

    Colin Michael Foale (born 6 January 1957) is a British-American astrophysicist and former NASA astronaut. He is a veteran of six space missions, and is the only NASA astronaut to have flown extended...  more
  • 8
    Dec. at 64 (1732-1796)

    BirthplacePaper Mill Run, Pennsylvania

    NationalityUnited States of America, Germany

    David Rittenhouse (April 8, 1732 – June 26, 1796) was an American astronomer, inventor, clockmaker, mathematician, surveyor, scientific instrument craftsman, and public official. Rittenhouse was a...  more
  • 9
    Dec. at 86 (1925-2011)

    BirthplaceHaarlemmermeer, Kingdom of the Netherlands

    NationalityNetherlands, United States of America

    Anton M.J. "Tom" Gehrels (February 21, 1925 – July 11, 2011) was a Dutch–American astronomer, Professor of Planetary Sciences, and Astronomer at the University of Arizona, Tucson....  more
  • 10
    Dec. at 74 (1731-1806)


    NationalityUnited States of America

    Benjamin Banneker (November 9, 1731 – October 9, 1806) was a free African-American almanac author, surveyor, naturalist, and farmer. Born in Baltimore County, Maryland, to a free African-American...  more
  • 11
    Dec. at 83 (1911-1995)

    BirthplacePittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    NationalityUnited States of America

    William Alfred Fowler (August 9, 1911 – March 14, 1995) was an American nuclear physicist, later astrophysicist, who, with Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar won the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physics. He is known...  more
  • 12
    Dec. at 84 (1910-1995)

    BirthplaceLahore, Pakistan

    NationalityIndia, United States of America

    Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar ; 19 October 1910 – 21 August 1995) was an Indian American astrophysicist who spent his professional life in the United States. He was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize for...  more
  • 13

    BirthplaceAbington, Abington Township, Pennsylvania

    NationalityUnited States of America

    John-David Francis Bartoe (born November 17, 1944 in Abington, Pennsylvania) is an American astrophysicist. He is the Research Manager for the International Space Station (ISS) at NASA's Johnson...  more
  • 14
    Dec. at 69 (1928-1997)

    BirthplaceLos Angeles, California

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Eugene Merle Shoemaker (April 28, 1928 – July 18, 1997), also known as Gene Shoemaker, was an American geologist and one of the founders of the field of planetary science. He is best known for...  more
  • 15

    BirthplaceOakland, California, United States of America

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Alexei Vladimir "Alex" Filippenko (; born July 25, 1958) is an American astrophysicist and professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley. Filippenko graduated from Dos Pueblos High...  more
  • 16
    Dec. at 84 (1926-2010)

    BirthplaceIowa City, Iowa

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Allan Rex Sandage (June 18, 1926 – November 13, 2010) was an American astronomer. He was Staff Member Emeritus with the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California. He determined the first...  more
  • 17

    BirthplaceLondon, United Kingdom

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Edward L. G. "Ted" Bowell (born 1943 in London), is an American astronomer. Bowell was educated at Emanuel School London, University College, London, and the Université de Paris. He was principal...  more
  • 18
    Dec. at 64 (1904-1968)

    BirthplaceOdessa, Ukraine

    NationalityUnited States of America, Russia, Soviet Union

    George Gamow (March 4, 1904 – August 19, 1968), born Georgiy Antonovich Gamov, was a Soviet-American theoretical physicist and cosmologist. He was an early advocate and developer of Lemaître's Big...  more
  • 19

    BirthplaceLa Crosse, Wisconsin

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Frank Curtis "Curt" Michel, Ph.D. (June 5, 1934 – February 26, 2015) was an American astrophysicist; a professor of astrophysics at Rice University in Houston, Texas; a former United States Air Force...  more
  • 20

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Geoffrey William Marcy (born September 29, 1954) is an American astronomer. He is one of the pioneers and leaders in the discovery and characterization of exoplanets. Marcy was Professor of Astronomy...  more
  • 21
    Dec. at 97 (1906-2004)

    BirthplaceRed Oak, Iowa

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Fred Lawrence Whipple (November 5, 1906 – August 30, 2004) was an American astronomer, who worked at the Harvard College Observatory for over 70 years. Amongst his achievements were asteroid and...  more
  • 22
    Age: 81

    BirthplaceLogan, Utah, USA

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Kip Stephen Thorne (born June 1, 1940) is an American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate, known for his contributions in gravitational physics and astrophysics. A longtime friend and colleague...  more
  • 23

    BirthplaceMunich, Germany

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Arno Allan Penzias (; born April 26, 1933) is an American physicist, radio astronomer and Nobel laureate in physics who is co-discoverer of the cosmic microwave background radiation along with Robert...  more
  • 24

    BirthplaceHouston, Texas

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Robert Woodrow Wilson (born January 10, 1936) is an American astronomer who, along with Arno Allan Penzias, discovered cosmic microwave background radiation (CMB) in 1964. The pair won the 1978 Nobel...  more
  • 25

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Schelte John "Bobby" Bus (born 1956) is an American astronomer and discoverer of minor planets at the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Hawaii and Deputy Director of NASA's Infrared...  more