Argelander , Friedrich Wilhelm August


Argelander , Friedrich Wilhelm August
(1799–1875) German astronomer
Born in the Baltic port of Memel (now Klaipeda in Lithuania), Argelander was the son of a wealthy Finnish merchant and a German mother. He was educated at Königsberg, where his interest in astronomy was aroused by the lectures of Friedrich Bessel. Argelander began his career in 1820 as an assistant in Bessel's Königsberg Observatory. In 1823 he moved to the Åbo Observatory in Finland, then part of Russia. The observatory burned down in 1827 and Argelander began the design and construction of a new observatory in Helsinki, which was completed in 1832. In 1836 he was appointed professor of astronomy at Bonn. Here Friedrich Wilhelm IV built for Argelander an impressive new observatory. They were in fact old friends. In 1806, following Prussia's defeat by Napoleon, Friedrich Wilhelm, then the crown prince, had sought refuge in the Argelander home in Memel, East Prussia.
Argelander's name continues to be known by astronomers for his compilation of the Bonner Dorchmusterung (1859–63; 3 vols; Bonn Survey), still the largest and most comprehensive of pre-photographic catalogs. Under Bessel he had begun a survey of the sky from 15°S to 45°N. This was extended at Bonn to an area from 90°N to 2°S and when complete listed the positions of 324,198 stars down to the ninth magnitude. His work was continued by his successor, E. Schonfeld, who in the Southern Bonner Dorchmusterung (1886) added a further 133,659 stars located in the southern skies (2°S–23°S).

Scientists. . 2011.

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