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Astro*Dictionary by Michael Erlewine





1 article for "Kirkwood, Daniel"

Kirkwood, Daniel [Astro*Index]

(1814-1895) American astronomer. Born at Harford County, MD; died in Riverside, CA.

Was professor of mathematics at Delaware College and Indiana University, and lecturer at Standford University. He continued the work on Minor Planets (asteriods) of Piazzi and Olbers. He showed that the gaps in the spacing of the asteriods (now called the Kirkwood Gaps) were not accidental, but could be explained by Perturbation Theory: If a small body existed at such a position, its period of revolution (about the Sun) would be a simple ratio to that of Jupiter. Thus, Jupiter's perturbations on the body would increase with time, forcing the body either closer or farther from the Sun, thus causing a gap. He extended this analysis to the rings of Saturn, which also exhibit gaps.


See also:
♦ Piazzi, Giuseppe ♦ Olbers, Heinrich Wilhelm Mathaus






Astro*Index Copyright © 1997 Michael Erlewine