Bessel , Friedrich Wilhelm

Bessel , Friedrich Wilhelm
(1784–1846) German astronomer
Bessel was born into a poor family in Minden, Germany, and started work as a clerk. His interest in and aptitude for astronomy brought him to the attention of Heinrich Olbers, who obtained a position for him in the observatory at Lilienthal. Four years later he was entrusted with the construction of the observatory at Königsberg and appointed its director.
Bessel made many advances in astronomy. He cataloged the position of 50,000 stars down to the ninth magnitude between 15°S and 45°N and, using James Bradley's results, achieved new levels of accuracy. He also made careful observations of 61 Cygni and was able to detect a parallax of 30 arc seconds and to calculate the star's distance – the first such determination – as 10.3 light years. (The distance is now known to be 11.2 light years.) Although Bessel was the first to announce the detection of parallax (1838), Thomas Henderson had in fact measured it in 1832 in his observations of Alpha Centauri.
Bessel's other great discovery came after observing a slight displacement in the proper motion of Sirius, which he explained as the effect of an orbit around an unseen star, and announced in 1844 that Sirius was a double star system having a dark companion. Sirius B was detected optically by Alvan Clark in 1862. Bessel made a similar claim for Procyon whose companion was discovered optically in 1895. He also noted irregularities in the motion of Uranus and suggested that they were caused by an unknown planet, but died just before the discovery of Neptune.
In mathematics Bessel worked on the theory of the functions, named for him, that he introduced to determine motions of bodies under mutual gravitation and planetary perturbations. They still have a wide application in modern physics.

Scientists. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bessel, Friedrich Wilhelm — ► (1784 1846) Astrónomo alemán. Es considerado el introductor de la astronomía de precisión y de las funciones que llevan su nombre. * * * (22 jul. 1784, Minden, Brandeburgo–17 mar. 1846, Königsberg, Prusia). Astrónomo alemán. Fue el primero en… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Bessel,Friedrich Wilhelm — Bes·sel (bĕsʹəl), Friedrich Wilhelm. 1784 1846. Prussian astronomer who recalculated the orbit of Halley s comet (1804), verified by parallax the distance from Earth to the twin star 61 Cygni (1838), and developed a class of mathematical… …   Universalium

  • Bessel, Friedrich Wilhelm — born July 22, 1784, Minden, Brandenburg died March 17, 1846, Königsberg, Prussia German astronomer. He was the first to measure (by means of parallax) the distance to a star other than the Sun. One of his major discoveries was that the bright… …   Universalium

  • BESSEL, FRIEDRICH WILHELM —    a Prussian astronomer of prominent ability, born at Minden; professor of Mathematics at Königsberg, and director of the Observatory; discovered what was a great achievement the parallax of the fixed star 61 Cygne; his greatest work, Fundamenta …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel — 80 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Friedrich Wilhelm Argelander — Friedrich Wilhelm August Argelander Friedrich Wilhelm August Argelander (* 22. März 1799 bei Memel; † 17. Februar 1875 in Bonn) war ein deutscher Astronom. Er leitete den Bau mehrerer Sternwarten in Europa, untersuchte …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bessel. Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Naissance 22 juillet 1784 Minde …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Friedrich-Wilhelm-Bessel-Forschungspreis — Der Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Forschungspreis ist nach dem deutschen Mathematiker und Astronomen Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel (1784–1846) benannt. Der Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Forschungspreis wird seit 2001 an exzellente Wissenschaftler aus dem… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Friedrich Wilhelm August Argelander — (* 22. März 1799 bei Memel; † 17. Februar 1875 in Bonn) war ein deutscher Astronom. Er leitete den Bau mehrerer Sternwarten in Europa, untersuchte Veränderliche Sterne und führte die Bonner Durchmusterung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Friedrich Wilhelm — ist der Name folgender Personen: Friedrich Wilhelm (Brandenburg) (1620–1688), der Große Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm I. (Preußen) (1688–1740), Preußens größter innerer König Friedrich Wilhelm II. (Preußen) (1744–1797), „Der dicke Lüderjahn“… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.