William Henry Pickering


William Henry Pickering

William Henry Pickering (February 15, 1858 – January 17, 1938) was an American astronomer, brother of Edward Charles Pickering.

Work

He discovered Saturn's ninth moon Phoebe in 1899 from plates taken in 1898. He also believed he had discovered a tenth moon in 1905 from plates taken in 1904, which he called "Themis". Unfortunately "Themis" does not exist.

Following George Darwin, he speculated in 1907 that the moon was once a part of the earth and that it broke away where now the Pacific Ocean lies. He also proposed some sort of continental drift (even before Alfred Wegener) and speculated that America, Asia, Africa, and Europe once formed a single continent, which broke up because of the separation of the moon. [Citation | author=Pickering, W.H| title = [http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1907PA.....15..274P The Place of Origin of the Moon - The Volcani Problems] | journal= Popular Astronomy | pages=274–287| year=1907]

In 1908 he made a statement regarding the possibility of airplanes that had not yet been invented, saying that "a popular fantasy is to suppose that flying machines could be used to drop dynamite on the enemy in time of war".

He led solar eclipse expeditions and studied craters on the Moon, and hypothesized that changes in the appearance of the crater Eratosthenes were due to "lunar insects". [ [http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/products/journals/aag/aag_December00/aag632.htm AAG: Reviews 12-2000 ] ] He claimed to have found vegetation on the moon. [http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9B05E0D81439E133A2575AC0A9669D946095D6CF]

In 1919, he predicted the existence and position of a Planet X based on anomalies in the positions of Uranus and Neptune but a search of Mount Wilson Observatory photographs failed to find the predicted planet. Pluto was later discovered at Flagstaff by Clyde Tombaugh in 1930, but in any case it is now known that Pluto's mass is far too small to have appreciable gravitational effects on Uranus or Neptune, and the anomalies are accounted for when today's much more accurate values of planetary masses are used in calculating orbits. When the planet was named, he interpreted its symbol as a monogram referring to himself and Lowell by the phrase "Pickering-Lowell". [cite journal|title= The discovery of Pluto|author = Pickering W. H. |journal = Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society |volume =91 |issue =1 |pages = 0812–0817|year= 1930|url = http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1931MNRAS..91..812P]

Pickering constructed and established several observatories or astronomical observation stations, notably including Percival Lowell's Flagstaff Observatory. He spent much of the later part of his life at his private observatory in Jamaica. He produced a photographic atlas of the Moon: "The Moon : A Summary of the Existing Knowledge of our Satellite" — New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1903.

Pickering crater on the Moon is jointly named after him and his brother Edward Charles Pickering.

Notes

External links

Obituaries

* [http://adsabs.harvard.edu//full/seri/JRASC/0032//0000157.000.html JRASC 32 (1938) 157] (one paragraph)
* [http://adsabs.harvard.edu//full/seri/MNRAS/0099//0000328.000.html MNRAS 99 (1939) 328]
* [http://adsabs.harvard.edu//full/seri/PASP./0050//0000122.000.html PASP 50 (1938) 122]

References


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  • William Henry Pickering — (* 15. Februar 1858 in Boston; † 17. Januar 1938 in Mandeville, Jamaika) war ein US amerikanischer Astronom. William Henry Pickering Er widmete sich hauptsächlich den Planeten und …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Henry Pickering — (1858 1935). Astrónomo norteamericano, hermano menor del también astrónomo Edward Charles Pickering. A instancias de su hermano mayor comenzó su carrera astronómica como asistente en el Observatorio de Harvard (Harvard College Observatory) en… …   Wikipedia Español

  • William Henry Pickering — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Pickering (homonymie). William Henry Pickering William Henry Pickering, né à Boston le 15 février …   Wikipédia en Français

  • William H. Pickering — may refer to:*William Henry Pickering (1858–1938), American astronomer *William Hayward Pickering (1910 2004), former director of the NASA/Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory …   Wikipedia

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  • Pickering, William Henry — ▪ American astronomer born , Feb. 15, 1858, Boston died Jan. 17, 1938, Mandeville, Jam.  U.S. astronomer who discovered Phoebe, the ninth satellite of Saturn.       In 1891 Pickering joined his brother Edward in establishing the Boyden station of …   Universalium


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