The New Student's Reference Work/Leverrier, Urbain Jean J.

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Leverrier (le-vắ′ryắ), Urbain Jean J., a great French astronomer, born in Normandy, March 11, 1811, died at Paris, Sept. 23, 1877. He began life as a student of chemistry under Gay-Lussac, but in 1837 accepted a chair of astronomy at the Polytechnic School in Paris, and for 40 years devoted himself almost exclusively to celestial mechanics. In 1846 he predicted, by a study of the motion of Uranus, that there was a disturbing body in the neighborhood: and this body which we now call Neptune, was discovered on Sept. 23, 1846, by Galle at Berlin, within one degree of the place where Leverrier said it would be found. This prediction is really no more remarkable than many others which have been made in astronomy; but it is one which has always caught popular applause. In 1854 Leverrier succeeded Arago as director of the Paris Observatory, a position which he held with the exception of three years until his death.