Urbain Jean Joseph Leverrier, French astronomer

Urbain Jean Joseph Leverrier, French astronomer

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Urbain Leverrier. Portrait of Urbain Jean Joseph Leverrier (1811-77), the French astronomer who predicted the existence of the planet Neptune. Leverrier deduced that observed irregularities in the orbit of the Uranus were due to the gravita- tional effect of an undiscovered planet. He calcu- lated the mass and orbit of the supposed planet, and sent a prediction of its position to Johann Galle in Berlin, who was able to detect it on his first night of looking. It soon became clear that J.C. Adams had made similar predictions some months before. Leverrier discovered the advance of the closest approach to the Sun (perihelion) of Mercury, a phenomenon later explained by Einstein.

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Keywords: astronomer, discovery of, jean joseph, leverrier, mercury, neptune, perihelion, pioneer, portraits, surname l, u.j.j., uranus orbit

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