Has great eyesight been necessary for astronomers?

  • In a different (but somewhat related) field, some baseball stars have been known to have "baseball eyes." That is, an exceptional ability to visually follow the trajectory of a 90+ mph baseball to a degree enjoyed by 0.1% (one in a thousand) of the human race, as discussed in "Moneyball" by Michael Lewis.

    I would imagine that would also be an advantage for an astromer, all other things being equal. But has "history"shown this to be necessary? That is, have there been a large or at least disproportionate number of famous and successful astronomers that been identified with eyesight in the top 1% (or higher) of the human population? Conversely, have there been any noted astronomers with notably bad eyesight who have made contributions because their theoretical, intuitive, or other abilities were enough to compensate?

    Can you add references for the "baseball eyes" claims?

    Just curious why it *might* be necessary to have great eyesight? I assume it's because perhaps better eyesight helps see the (relatively) small stars/brightness changes/etc when using the naked eye, or telescopes and other equipment?

    “Has … been” implies past tense to me. In which case I would guess that before telescopes, an astronomer with poor vision would have been (for that reason) in the wrong field.

  • Vladimir F

    Vladimir F Correct answer

    2 years ago

    Johannes Kepler


    "However, childhood smallpox left him with weak vision and crippled
    hands, limiting his ability in the observational aspects of

    He made great use of Tycho Brahes great systematic observations in his theoretical work. He did not need exceptional eyesight for his developments in optics and telescopes.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM