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Simon Newcomb. Portrait of Simon Newcomb (1835- 1909), Canadian-born American astronomer and mathematician. He had little formal education, but had a talent for mathematics and so was accepted as a computer at the American Nautical Almanac Office. His major work was the recalculation of constants needed to prepare an ephemeris, the tabulated daily predicted positions of the Sun, Moon, and planets for use in navigation. He was responsible for the worldwide adoption of a standard system of constants by makers of such nautical almanacs. This system survived until the middle of the 20th century.
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