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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
- About Us
Tuning In to a Distant Planet
9 March 1998 7:00 pm
The French astronomer who co-discovered the planet Neptune, Urbain Jean Joseph Leverrier, was born on this day in 1811. Based on hints that Uranus veered slightly from the orbit predicted at the time, Leverrier proposed that an unknown planet beyond Uranus was influencing the orbit. In 1846, he and 24-year-old English astronomer John Couch Adams each independently published several papers on the hypothetical planet's position and asked several observatories to search for it.
German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle and his Dutch colleague Heinrich Louis d'Arrest soon found the eighth planet from the sun, which is now known to take 165 years to complete an orbit, within 1 degree of Leverrier's coordinates. The greenish-hued orb was dubbed Neptune, after the Roman god of the sea. Leverrier devoted the rest of his life to compiling a comprehensive analysis of the masses and orbits of the solar system's planets and their subtle effects on one another.
[Source: Roy Porter, Ed., The Biographical Dictionary of Scientists (Oxford University Press, ed. 2, 1994).]