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Astro*Dictionary by Michael Erlewine





1 article for "Leverrier, Urbain Jean Joseph"

Leverrier, Urbain Jean Joseph [Astro*Index]

(luh-veh-ryay') (1811-1877) French astronomer.

Born at St. Lo, Manche; died at Paris. Made outstanding contributions to Celestial Mechanics. With Lapace, he demonstrated the stability of the Solar System. His analysis of the motion of the perihelion of Mercury showed an advance of 40" per century more than could be accounted for by Newton's Theory of Gravitation. He sought, in vain, for an intra-mercurial planet (which he named Vulcan) to account for the effect. The true explanation had to await the work of Einstein. His work on the residuals of Uranus led him to search for an unknown planet to account for the observed discrepancies. He asked Galle, at the Berlin Observatory, to search a specified area of the sky, and the result was the discovery of the planet Neptune, on 1846 SEP 23. The discovery might have gone to the young English astronomer, J.C. Adams, but for the efforts of Airy, at the Greenwich Observatory. Director of the Paris Observatory, Leverrier was hated by his employees, and was finally removed from his position in 1870.

See also:
♦ Adams, John Couch ♦ Airy, Sir George Biddell


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