Gravity Timeline


Kepler transforms astronomy and shows that the planets move around the Sun in elliptical orbits. (1609)



Galileo points a telescope at the night sky and makes dramatic discoveries wherever he looks. (1609)


Galileo publishes his Two New Sciences in which he reveals the results of his experiments with falling objects. He shows that projectiles follow parabolic paths when falling in the Earth’s gravitational field. (1638)


Jeremiah Horrocks predicts that the planet Venus will cross the face of the Sun. Along with his friend Crabtree, he is the first to witness such an event. (1639)



Newton proves that the Moon is held in orbit by the same force that pulls an apple to the ground. His revolutionary theories of mechanics and gravitation are published in the Principia. (1687)



Adams and Le Verrier use Newton’s theory of gravity to successfully predict the existence of a new planet. (1846)


Einstein creates general relativity where gravity is described as the curvature of spacetime. (1915)


Hubble shows that there is a large red shift in the light from distant galaxies, such that the more distant a galaxy the faster it is receding from us. The clear implication is that the whole universe is expanding. (1929)


Penzias and Wilson discover the cosmic microwave background radiation providing firm evidence for the Big Bang theory of the universe. (1964)



A voracious black hole is shown to reside within the powerful
X-ray source Cygnus X-1. (1973)


Hawking stuns the physics community by showing that
black holes are not completely black. (1974)



Andrea Ghez maps out the orbits of stars at the heart of the galaxy, proving the existence of a supermassive black hole. (2008)



The LIGO team announce the first ever detection of gravitational waves from the collision and merger of two black holes. (2015)


For more about Nicholas Mee’s fascinating story of gravity take a look here: Gravity: Cracking the Cosmic Code.