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Huygens Flying to the Stars English Version
- Title Huygens Flying to the Stars English Version
- Released 14/12/2004
- Language English
- Footage Type
Christiaan Huygens, after whom the Huygens probe is named, was the Dutch-born astronomer who discovered Titan, Saturn's biggest moon. He made numerous other contributions to physcis and optical instruments and is considered one of the greatest scientists of the 17th century.
To provide some background on this fascinating person, ESA asked Huygens biographer C. Andriesse for an interview, which was recorded in December 2004 in the Hofwijk Museum in The Hague, where Huygens lived as a boy.
Andriesse performed the interview in a period costume dress, outlining the role and achievements of Huygens for modern science.
The programme is an edited version of this interview.
The script will be on-line as a PDF document under http://television.esa.int/photos/EbS11012005.pdf
Christiaan Huygens to the Stars
Transcript of the Interview
I remember the night I discovered Titan. I was still young, 25 years. It was very
cold. My hands were freezing, but never mind. I noticed the star close to Saturn
had moved with respect to the previous night. I was certain that could not be a
fixed star. I followed that moon during 4 revolutions. And then I was sure. I
discovered that moon. I was full of joy to have discovered that moon.
I made the telescope myself. By patiently grinding a piece of ordinary window
glass, only 2 inch round, so that one side became spherical with a focus at 12
foot. With my eyepiece of 3 inch back-focus, I had an enlargement of 50 times.
It was very bright. It had to be big. It was like the moons of Jupiter, or
reasonably sized planets. The moon got the name Titan. People gave it that
name 200 years after my discovery. I never called it Titan. I called it my moon,
I wrote a book about the cosmic worlds, Kosmotheoros. T