David Fabricius (1564-1617) Astronomer

German astronomer and theologian. Born in Esens, East Friesland. In 1584 he became pastor at Resterhaave, and in 1603 at Osteel, where he was murdered by a peasant or parsoner whom he had accused publicly of theft of a stolen goose. Johann Fabricius (the son of David Fabricius) died on 19 March 1616, and David Fabricius the following year.

The variable star Mira, in the constellation Cetus was discovered by David Fabricus in 1596. Over a period of 331.65 days it varies from magnitude 2.0, one of the brightest in the sky and easily visible to the unaided eye, to 10.1 and back again. Its discovery in 1596 by David Fabricius further dented the unchangeability of the heavens and lent support to the Copernican revolution.

His astronomical observations were of value to Johannes Kepler in his mathematical predictions about planetary behavior, especially the planet Mars.

David Fabricius also has contributed to the history of meterology, having kept an extensive diary of weather patterns.

David Fabricius was the father of Johannes Fabricius (1587-1616), who also discovered sunspots in 1610, independently of Galileo Galilei. The father and son duo began using an optical device to project of its surroundings on a screen(obscura telescopy) to save their eyesight and continue observing the solar disk. Utilizing this method, they made the observation that sunspots moved. They would appear on the eastern edge of the disk, steadily moving to the western edge. The sunspots would disappear then reappear on a regular schedule. Both men are little known outside of the astronomical community, however David and Johannes Fabricius contribute a great deal to our understanding or the Solar System and the Sun in particular.

David Fabricius Discovery of Mira

David Fabricius' Discovery of the variable intensity phases of the star Mira, in the Cetus constellation was a groundbreaking discovery in 1596.


  • Funk and Wagnall's Encyclopedia, ©1950
  • Chemistry About, David Fabricius was a German astronomer who observed the first variable star. This discovery conflicted with the current idea the stars were eternal and unchanging.
  • Mira - Omicron Ceti - Omi Cet
  • Johannes Fabricius
  • David Fabricius Contributions to Meteology
  • David Fabricius colleague of Johannes Kepler
  • Cetus Constellation
  • Johann Fabricius (1587-1616)
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