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The Info List - Christian Peters


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Christian Heinrich Friedrich Peters (September 19, 1813 – July 18, 1890) was a German–American astronomer, and a pioneer in the study of asteroids. He was born in Koldenbüttel in Schleswig, then part of Denmark but later part of Germany, and later studied under Carl Friedrich Gauss. Peters spoke many languages and gravitated to Italy at the time of the Italian unification. His association with radical groups brought him to the attention of authorities, and he fled to the Ottoman Empire, where he became a government advisor. At the suggestion of the resident U.S. consul, he emigrated to the United States in 1854. Working at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York (near Utica), he was a prolific discoverer of asteroids, discovering 48 of them, beginning with 72 Feronia in 1861 and ending with 287 Nephthys in 1889.[1] Besides asteroids, he co-discovered the periodic comet 80P/Peters–Hartley, and also discovered various nebulae and galaxies.[citation needed] He was involved in litigation in 1889 with his former assistant Charles A. Borst, and the "Great Star-Catalog Case" Peters v. Borst went before the Supreme Court of New York.[2] The judge sided with Peters, but many astronomers and newspapers sided with Borst. Peters died not long after. Following his death, the judgment was ultimately reversed on appeal and a new trial was ordered, but it never took place. The eminent astronomer Simon Newcomb devotes a chapter in his memoirs to Peters, as an object lesson in how great scientific talent and poor ethical standards may coexist in a single individual.[3] He died July 18, 1890 in Utica. Historian William Sheehan notes, "Peters was found lying, a half-burned cigar at his fingertips, on the doorstep of the building where he lodged; observing cap on his head, he had fallen in the line of duty, on the way to the observatory the night before."[4] The main-belt asteroid 100007 Peters was named in his memory.[5] References[edit]

^ a b "Minor Planet Discoverers (by number)". Minor Planet Center. 23 May 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2016.  ^ "At War about the Stars," The New York Times (February 1, 1889) ^ Simon Newcomb, The Reminiscences of an Astronomer, (Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1903), p. 372-381 ^ William Sheehan, "Christian Heinrich Friedrich Peters", Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences ^ "100007 Peters (1988 CP4)". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 28 June 2016. 

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 122168944 LCCN: no2003080461 ISNI: 0000 0000 8417 004X GND: 11610819

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