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The German astronomer, Johann Bode

The German astronomer, Johann Bode

H402/0096

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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The German astronomer, Johann Bode, 1747-1826. Bode was director of the Berlin Observatory and author of a vast catalogue of star positions. Yet he is best known for popularizing a relationship discovered by someone else. Titius showed that the numbers in the series 0,3,6,12,24,48,96,192...when added to by 4 and divided by 10, accurately give the radii of the planetary orbits. Thus, if one sets the earth's distance from the sun at 10, then Mercury is at distance 4, Venus at 7, Mars at 16. This relationship is known as Bode's Law. With its help Uranus was discovered, the asteroid belt, and Neptune (although it is inaccurate for Neptune and Pluto). Bode named the planet Uranus.

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