John Couch Adams, British astronomer

John Couch Adams, British astronomer

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Credit: GARY BROWN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Caricature of the British astronomer John Couch Adams (1819-1892), with the planet Neptune (blue). Adams is best known for predicting the existence and position of Neptune, using only mathematics to calculate its location from known irregularities in the orbit of Uranus. The new planet was observed in 1846, but parallel work by the French astronomer Urbain Le Verrier meant credit was shared. Adams also studied the motion of the Moon, terrestrial magnetism, and meteor showers. He became a professor at Cambridge, and President of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1851.

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