American People

Famous Astronomers from the United States

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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. (301 items)
1
Carl Sagan is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
Dec. at 62 (1934-1996)
Carl Sagan appeared in the 2012 documentary film Beyond Expression Bright.
2
Neil deGrasse Tyson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
age 60
Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and science communicator. Since 1996, he has been the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose ...more
3
Edwin Hubble is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
Dec. at 64 (1889-1953)
Edwin Powell Hubble was an American astronomer who played a crucial role in establishing the field of extragalactic astronomy and is generally regarded as one of the most important observational ...more
4
Henrietta Swan Leavitt is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
Dec. at 53 (1868-1921)
Henrietta Swan Leavitt was an American astronomer who discovered the relation between the luminosity and the period of Cepheid variable stars. A graduate of Radcliffe College, Leavitt started ...more
5
Samuel Pierpont Langley is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
Dec. at 72 (1834-1906)
Samuel Pierpont Langley was an American astronomer, physicist, inventor of the bolometer and pioneer of aviation. He attended Boston Latin School, graduated from English High School of Boston, ...more
6
George Nelson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
age 68
George Driver "Pinky" Nelson, Ph.D. is an American physicist, astronomer, science educator, and a former NASA astronaut.
7
Michael Foale is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
age 62
Colin Michael Foale, CBE, PhD is a British-American astrophysicist and former NASA astronaut. He is a veteran of six space shuttle missions and extended stays on both Mir and the International ...more
8
David Rittenhouse is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
Dec. at 64 (1732-1796)
David Rittenhouse was a renowned American astronomer, inventor, clockmaker, mathematician, surveyor, scientific instrument craftsman and public official. Rittenhouse was a member of the American ...more
9
Tom Gehrels is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
Dec. at 86 (1925-2011)
Anton M.J. "Tom" Gehrels was a Dutch-American astronomer, Professor of Planetary Sciences, and Astronomer at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
10
Benjamin Banneker is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
Dec. at 75 (1731-1806)
Benjamin Banneker was a free African American scientist, surveyor, almanac author and farmer. Born in Baltimore County, Maryland, to a free African American woman and a former slave, Banneker ...more
11
William Alfred Fowler is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
Dec. at 84 (1911-1995)
William Alfred "Willie" Fowler was an American nuclear physicist, later astrophysicist, who, with Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar won the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physics;.
12
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
Dec. at 85 (1910-1995)
Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, FRS, was an Indian American astrophysicist born in Lahore, Punjab. Chandrasekhar was awarded, along with William A. Fowler, the 1983 Nobel Prize for Physics, with ...more
13
John-David F. Bartoe is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
age 74
John-David Francis Bartoe is an American astrophysicist. He is the Research Manager for the International Space Station at NASA's Johnson Space Center. He provides oversight for the Program ...more
14
Eugene Merle Shoemaker is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
Dec. at 69 (1928-1997)
Eugene Merle Shoemaker, 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 co-discovering the Comet ...more
15
Alexei Filippenko is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
age 60
Alexei Vladimir "Alex" Filippenko is an American astrophysicist and professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley. Filippenko graduated from Dos Pueblos High School ...more
16
Allan Sandage is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
Dec. at 84 (1926-2010)
Allan Rex Sandage was an American astronomer. He was Staff Member Emeritus with the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California. He determined the first reasonably accurate values for the ...more
17
Edward L. G. Bowell is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
age 76
Edward L. G. "Ted" Bowell, is an American astronomer. Bowell was educated at Emanuel School London, University College, London, and the Université de Paris. He was principal ...more
18
George Gamow is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
Dec. at 64 (1904-1968)
George Gamow, born Georgiy Antonovich Gamov, was a theoretical physicist and cosmologist – notably an early advocate and developer of Lemaître's Big Bang theory. He discovered a ...more
19
Curt Michel is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
age 84
Frank Curtis "Curt" Michel was an American astrophysicist, a former professor of astrophysics at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and a former NASA astronaut.
20
Geoffrey Marcy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
age 64
Geoffrey W. Marcy is an American astronomer, who is currently Professor of Astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley, famous for discovering more extrasolar planets than anyone else, ...more
21
Fred Lawrence Whipple is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
Dec. at 98 (1906-2004)
Fred Lawrence Whipple was an American astronomer, who worked at the Harvard College Observatory for over 70 years. Amongst his achievements, he discovered some asteroids and comets, came up with ...more
22
Kip Thorne is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
age 78
Kip Stephen Thorne is an American theoretical physicist, known for his contributions in gravitational physics and astrophysics. A longtime friend and colleague of Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan, ...more
23
Arno Allan Penzias is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
age 85
Arno Allan Penzias is an American physicist, radio astronomer and Nobel laureate in physics who is co-discoverer of the cosmic microwave background radiation, which helped establish the Big Bang ...more
24
Robert Woodrow Wilson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
age 83
Robert Woodrow Wilson is an American astronomer, 1978 Nobel laureate in physics, who with Arno Allan Penzias discovered in 1964 the cosmic microwave background radiation. The award purse was ...more
25
Schelte J. Bus is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Astronomers from the United States
age 63
Schelte John "Bobby" Bus is an Associate Astronomer at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy and Support Astronomer at NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility IRTF. He received ...more