Biographies

Regiomontanus and the reform of the calendar

Regiomontanus and the reform of the calendar

Johann Regiomontanus, whose real name was Johann Müller of Königsberg (Regiomontanus is the Latin version of the same Königsberg = "King's mountain"), was born on June 6, 1436 in Königsberg, Archbishopric of Mainz (now Germany).

At age 11 he entered the University of Leipzig and at 16 he went to Vienna where he studied with Georg von Peurbach. In 1461 he was appointed professor of astronomy at the University of Vienna, occupying the position of his professor and, in 1468, he worked as a royal astronomer of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary.

Regiomontanus made important contributions to trigonometry and astronomy. In fact, he is considered the initiator of modern trigonometry. His book De Triangulis Omnimodis (1464) is a systematic summary of the methods for studying triangles.

A great connoisseur of Greek texts, and a scholar of Euclid and Ptolemy, he made a rigorous Latin translation of the Almagesto, initiated by his teacher Peuerbach. In addition, he exhibited the system of Claudius Ptolemy in a work entitled "Epitome in Almagestum", published in 1496.

Regiomontanus built an observatory in Nuremberg in 1471, sponsored by Bernard Walther. He founded a printing press in which he published one of the first complete calendars, with astronomical data, about the positions of the Sun and the Moon, eclipses and mobile parties. He also built many instruments.

In January 1472 he made observations of a comet which, 270 years later, was described by Halley and ended up bearing his name, Halley's comet. Regiomontanus observed lunar eclipses, total eclipses of the Sun, such as September 3, 1457, July 3, 1460 and June 22, 1461.

He studied the movements of the Moon and described a method to calculate the length of the seas with their observation, many years before it could be used with the appearance of instruments to accurately measure the lunar position.

He wrote about the reform of the calendar in "Kalendarium and De Reformatione Kalendarii". He was called by the Pope to Rome in 1475 to participate in the reform of the calendar and was appointed Bishop of Regensburg. But he died before embarking on work, it is not yet known whether due to poisoning by his enemies or if he was the victim of a plague.

He died on June 8, 1476 in Rome, Italy.

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