Some of the very early astronomers figured out how the solar system works long before the general public did.
Astronomers  

Astronomer  Born  Died  Age  Discovery 
Aristarchus of Samos  310 BC  230 BC  80  How eclipses work. That the earth revolves around the sun. That stars are suns. Ordered planets by distance from the sun. Computed relative distance to the moon and sun. 
Ptolemy  90 AD  168 AD  78  Worked out geocentric mathematics to predict planetary positions. He was primarily an astrologer. 
Nicolaus Copernicus  14730219  15430524  70  Worked out a mathematical description of heliocentrism. 
Tycho Brahe  15461214  16011024  54  Created a meticulous log of planetary observations. This was the raw data that Kepler used. Discovered supernovae. 
Galileo Galilei  15640215  16420108  77  Discovered Jupiter’s moons. Got in hot water for popularising heliocentrism. 
Johannes Kepler  15711227  16301115  58  Discovered that planets travel in ellipses. Worked out the math to predict how fast a planet travels at any given time. 
Edwin Hubble  18891120  19530928  63  Using Doppler red shift, showed the universe was expanding. 
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