Thomas Street

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Thomas Street
Born 5 March 1621 (probably unadjusted)
Castlelyons, Ireland
Died 17 August 1689 (probably unadjusted) (aged 68)
Westminster, London, England
Nationality English
Known forAstronomia Carolina
Scientific career
Fields Astronomy
Influences Johannes Kepler
Influenced Isaac Newton, John Flamsteed

Thomas Street (also spelled Streete) (1621–1689) was an English astronomer, known for his writings on celestial motions. He has sometimes been confused with Thomas Street the judge, who lived from 1626 to 1696. The crater Street on the Moon is named after him.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Street (crater) lunar impact crater

Street is a lunar impact crater located just to the south of the prominent ray crater Tycho. Street lies within the skirt of high-albedo ejecta from Tycho, and it is more heavily worn than its younger and larger neighbor. There are several smaller craters joined to the western rim, as well as two craters along the eastern rim. The floor is relatively smooth and flat, except for a small craterlet in the western half. The crater is 58 kilometres (36 mi) in diameter and 1,500 metres (4,900 ft) in depth. It may be from the Pre-Imbrian period, which lasted from 4.55 to 3.85 billion years ago. It is named for the 17th-century English astronomer Thomas Street.

Moon Earths natural satellite

The Moon is an astronomical body that orbits planet Earth and is Earth's only permanent natural satellite. It is the fifth-largest natural satellite in the Solar System, and the largest among planetary satellites relative to the size of the planet that it orbits. The Moon is after Jupiter's satellite Io the second-densest satellite in the Solar System among those whose densities are known.



According to Brief Lives by Street's contemporary John Aubrey, [1] Street was born at Castle Lyons in Ireland on 5 March 1621, and died "in Chanon-row (vulgarly Channel-rowe) at Westminster, the 17th August, 1689, and is buried in the church yard of the new chapell there".

<i>Brief Lives</i> late 17th-century collection of biographies by John Aubrey

Brief Lives is a collection of short biographies written by John Aubrey (1626–1697) in the last decades of the 17th century.

John Aubrey English writer and antiquarian

John Aubrey was an English antiquary, natural philosopher and writer. He is perhaps best known as the author of the Brief Lives, his collection of short biographical pieces. He was a pioneer archaeologist, who recorded numerous megalithic and other field monuments in southern England, and who is particularly noted as the discoverer of the Avebury henge monument. The Aubrey holes at Stonehenge are named after him, although there is considerable doubt as to whether the holes that he observed are those that currently bear the name. He was also a pioneer folklorist, collecting together a miscellany of material on customs, traditions and beliefs under the title "Remaines of Gentilisme and Judaisme". He set out to compile county histories of both Wiltshire and Surrey, although both projects remained unfinished. His "Interpretation of Villare Anglicanum" was the first attempt to compile a full-length study of English place-names. He had wider interests in applied mathematics and astronomy, and was friendly with many of the greatest scientists of the day.

Castlelyons Village in Munster, Ireland

Castlelyons is a small village in the east of County Cork, Ireland. It is also a civil parish in the barony of Barrymore. The name is derived from a stronghold of the Uí Liatháin - an early medieval kingdom. It is situated 6 km (3.7 mi) south of Fermoy. In the 2002 census it recorded a population of 211.


In 1661, Street published Astronomia Carolina, a new theorie of Coelestial Motions. An Appendix to Astronomia Carolina (including tables) followed in 1664. Astronomia Carolina was widely read, and used by students who later became very notable in their own right, e.g. Isaac Newton [2] and John Flamsteed. [3] It was from Astronomia Carolina that Flamsteed learned how to calculate eclipses and planetary positions. Street's tables in Astronomia Carolina had a reputation for accuracy: for example, Flamsteed once referred to them as "the exactest tables in being, the Caroline", [4] and Astronomia Carolina itself appeared in second and third editions as late as 1710 and 1716. [5]

Isaac Newton Influential British physicist and mathematician

Sir Isaac Newton was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time, and a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, first published in 1687, laid the foundations of classical mechanics. Newton also made seminal contributions to optics, and shares credit with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for developing the infinitesimal calculus.

John Flamsteed English astronomer and the first Astronomer Royal

John Flamsteed FRS was an English astronomer and the first Astronomer Royal. His main achievements were the preparation of a 3,000-star catalogue, Catalogus Britannicus, and a star atlas called Atlas Coelestis, both published posthumously. He also made the first recorded observations of Uranus, although he mistakenly catalogued it as a star, and he laid the foundation stone for the Royal Greenwich Observatory.

1674 saw the appearance of Street's Description and Use of the Planetary Systeme together with Easie Tables, as well as, in the same year, Tables of Projection for artillery, accompanying a work on gunnery by Robert Anderson.

Robert Anderson, was an English mathematician and silk-weaver.

A follower of Johannes Kepler, Street argued, like Kepler, that Earth's rate of daily rotation is not uniform. He argued that the rotation increased as it approached the Sun. [6]

Johannes Kepler German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer

Johannes Kepler was a German astronomer, mathematician, and astrologer. He is a key figure in the 17th-century scientific revolution, best known for his laws of planetary motion, and his books Astronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome Astronomiae Copernicanae. These works also provided one of the foundations for Newton's theory of universal gravitation.

Earth Third planet from the Sun in the Solar System

Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. According to radiometric dating and other sources of evidence, Earth formed over 4.5 billion years ago. Earth's gravity interacts with other objects in space, especially the Sun and the Moon, Earth's only natural satellite. Earth revolves around the Sun in 365.26 days, a period known as an Earth year. During this time, Earth rotates about its axis about 366.26 times.

Rotation circular movement of an object around a center (or point) of rotation . A three-dimensional object always rotates around an imaginary line called a rotation axis

A rotation is a circular movement of an object around a center of rotation. A three-dimensional object can always be rotated around an infinite number of imaginary lines called rotation axes. If the axis passes through the body's center of mass, the body is said to rotate upon itself, or spin. A rotation about an external point, e.g. the Earth about the Sun, is called a revolution or orbital revolution, typically when it is produced by gravity. The axis is called a pole.

Other achievements

Street invented an improved back-staff, a modification of an earlier instrument by Robert Hooke, adding to the device two planes and a small mirror. [7] [1]

Robert Hooke English natural philosopher, architect and polymath

Robert Hooke FRS was an English natural philosopher, architect and polymath.


He was of a rough and cholerique disposition. Discoursing with Prince Rupert, his highnesse affirmed something that was not according to art; sayd Mr. Street, 'whoever affirmes that is no mathematician.' So they would point at him afterwards at court and say, 'There's the man that huff't prince Rupert.'" ... "He hath left with his widowe (who lives in Warwick lane ...) an absolute piece of Trigonometrie, plain and spherical, in MS., more perfect than ever was yet donne, and more clear and demonstrated." ... "He was one of Mr. Ashmole's clarkes in the Excise office, which was his chiefest lively-hood.
John Aubrey, Brief Lives

One of Street's pamphlets described how he engaged in a vigorous polemic with Vincent Wing, his astronomical competitor, who had published a criticism of Street's Astronomia Carolina. [1] [8]

Edmond Halley (1656–1742), Street's much younger contemporary, wrote of Street as his 'good friend' (according to Halley's biographer), and said that they had observed a lunar eclipse together. [9] Halley wrote an appendix to the 1710 edition of Street's Astronomia Carolina, and Cajori (op. cit.) said that Halley actually 'brought out' that 1710 edition.


  1. 1 2 3 Florian Cajori in the Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society, December 1903, pages 155–7.
  2. See e.g. D. T. Whiteside, Before the Principia, in Journal for the History of Astronomy 1 (1970), 5–17, p. 7.
  3. According to Encyclopædia Britannica, 1823 version, article on John Flamsteed, p. 666.
  4. Letter from J. Flamsteed to Lord Brouncker (President of the Royal Society), on 24 November 1669. See Correspondence of John Flamsteed, vol. 1, ed. E. G. Forbes et al., 1997, letter #5, pages 12–26.
  5. For copies in British Library, see online catalogue.
  6. University of Florida > Robert A. Hatch > Between Friends: Huygens & Boulliau
  7. Saverien's article on the 'quartier anglois' (back-staff), in Dictionnaire universel de mathematique, Paris, 1753.
  8. Examen Examinatum, or Wing's Examination of Astronomia Carolina examined ... with a Castigation of the Envy and Ignorance of Vincent Wing, by Thomas Street, Student in Astronomy and Mathematics ... London, 1667.
  9. Alan Cook, "Edmond Halley", Oxford, 1998, p. 66.

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