Friedrich Wilhelm Argelander

Friedrich Wilhelm Argelander

Infobox Scientist
name = Friedrich Wilhelm Argelander
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image_width = 150px
caption = Friedrich Wilhelm Argelander
birth_date = March 22 1799
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death_date = February 17 1875
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nationality = Prussian
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field = Astronomy
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alma_mater = Königsberg
doctoral_advisor = Friedrich Bessel
doctoral_students =
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Friedrich Wilhelm August Argelander (March 22 1799February 17 1875) was a Prussian astronomer. He is known for his determinations of stellar brightnesses, positions, and distances.

Life and work

Argelander was born in Memel in the Kingdom of Prussia (now Klaipėda in Lithuania), the son of a Finnish father and German mother. He studied with Friedrich Bessel, and obtained his Ph.D. in 1822 at Königsberg. From 1823 until 1837, Argelander was the head of the Finnish observatory at Turku then at Helsinki. He then moved to Bonn, Germany. There he developed a friendship with King Frederick William IV, who funded a new observatory at the University of Bonn.

Argelander excelled in developing effective, simple and fast methods for measuring star positions and magnitudes, thereby making a pioneering work for modern astronomy. He also measured star distances with heliometers. His, and his collaborators, great practical works of star cataloging and variable star research were made possible by the systematic usage of then newly developed techniques. [cite web | title = F. W. A. Argelander | url = http://www.astro.uni-bonn.de/~geffert/ge/arg/arg.htm | access-date = 2008-05-20 (in German)]

Argelander was the first astronomer to begin a careful study of variable stars. Only a handful were known when he began, and he was responsible for introducing the modern system of identifying them. He also made a rough determination of the direction in which the Sun was moving.

Together with Adalbert Krüger and Eduard Schönfeld, Argelander was responsible for the star catalogue known as the "Bonner Durchmusterung", published between 1852 and 1859, which gave the positions and brightness of more than 324,000 stars, although it did not cover much of the southern half of the sky. This was the last star map to be published without the use of photography.

In 1863, Argelander founded an international organization of astronomers named the "Astronomische Gesellschaft".

Honors and legacy

* The Argelander crater on the Moon and the asteroid 1551 Argelander are named for him.

* Argelander won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1863.

* In 2006, the three astronomical institutes of the Bonn University were merged and renamed as the "Argelander-Institut für Astronomie".

References

Further reading

* (Parts of this article are based on this source.)

* cite encyclopedia
last = Sticker | first = Bernhard
title = Argelander, Friedrich Wilhelm August
encyclopedia = Dictionary of Scientific Biography
volume = 1
pages = 240-243
publisher = Charles Scribner's Sons
location = New York
date = 1970
isbn = 0684101149

External links

*


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