Urbain Jean Joseph Leverrier, French astronomer

Urbain Jean Joseph Leverrier, French astronomer

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This image is part of the feature Hypothetical Planets

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. He deduced that irregularities in the orbit of Uranus were due to the gravitational effect of an unknown planet. He calculated the mass and orbit of the supposed planet, and sent a prediction of its position to Johann Galle in Berlin, who found it almost immediately. Leverrier tried to explain the advance of the closest approach to the Sun (peri- helion) of Mercury by postulating the presence of a nearby planet which he named Vulcan. Despite extensive searches it was never found, & the phen- omenon was later explained by Albert Einstein.

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Keywords: astronomer, discovery of, hypothetical planet, jean joseph, leverrier, mercury, neptune, perihelion, pioneer, planet, planetary motion, portraits, proposer, surname l, u.j.j., uranus orbit, vulcan

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