Simon Marius (January 20, 1573 - December 26, 1624)

Simon Mayr (Latinized Marius) was born in Gunzenhausen, Bavaria, on January 20, 1573. In 1586, he joined the Margrave of Ansbach's Capella and school. He was in the capella for three years, and in the school until 1801, when he was 26 years old. In the following, he went to Prague to join Tycho Brahe's establishment, and after Tycho's death, was enrolled in Padua University to study medicine. In 1605 he return to Ansbach without degree and became Mathematician and Physician to the new Margraves, Christian and Joachim Ernst, a position he held for the rest of his life. Marius died in Ansbach on December 26, 1624.

His earliest astronomical activities include observations of a comet in 1596 and of Kepler's supernova in 1604. In 1608 he learned of telescopes and started to acquire the skills of producing one (like Galileo). Apparently, he independently discovered Jupiter's Moons (despite Galileo's claim of a plagiary, which had some evidence because it seems that he had already helped Capra in Padua to plagiate Galileo's note describing the use of compass), and proposed the names they have since. His credibility is also not enhanced by the fact that he improved his funds from astrology.

Moreover, Marius found (independently rediscovered) the "Nebula in the Girdle of Andromeda", actually the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), on December 15, 1612, and was the first to observe it with a (very moderate) telescope; he described it as looking like a "flame seen through horn" (Marius 1614). He was not aware that this object had been seen previously by medieval Persian astronomers, and described by Al Sufi as early as 964 AD.

Simon Marius was lately honored by the astronomical community by naming a Lunar crater after him in 1935; Moon crater Marius is at 11.9 N, 50.8 W and 41 km in diameter. Also, in 1979, a region on Jupiter's moon Ganymed was named Marius Regio (12.1 N, 199.3 W, 3572 km diameter). In 2014, asteroid (7984) Marius was named in his honor, discovered on September 29, 1980 by Czech astronomer Zdenka Vavrova at the Kiel Observatory, and provisionally designated 1980 SM.



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