| Share
 

Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel

Bessel, Friedrich Wilhelm (frēdˈrĭkh vĭlˈhĕlm bĕsˈəl) [key], 1784–1846, German astronomer and mathematician. He became (1810) director of the new observatory at Königsberg and professor of astronomy at the Univ. of Königsberg. Among his many achievements the most noted is his discovery of the parallax of the fixed star 61 Cygni. Announced in 1838, it was officially recognized in 1841 as the first fully authenticated measurement of the distance of a star. His observations had, by 1833, increased the number of accurately cataloged stars to 50,000. This work was continued and extended by his pupil Argelander. Through observing the variations of the proper motions of Sirius and Procyon, he concluded that they possessed dimmer companions, which was verified a century later by astronomers. Bessel's works on astronomy include Fundamenta Astronomiae (1818) and Astronomische Untersuchungen (1841–42). Bessel also introduced a class of mathematical functions, named for him, which he established as a result of work on perturbation of the planets and which are widely used in applied mathematics, physics, and engineering.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel from Infoplease:

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Astronomy: Biographies


Premium Partner Content
HighBeam Research
Documents Images and Maps Reference
(from Newspapers, Magazines, Journals, Newswires, Transcripts and Books)

Research our extensive archive of more than 80 million articles from 6,500 publications.

Additional search results provided by HighBeam Research, LLC. © Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.

24 X 7

Private Tutor

Click Here for Details
24 x 7 Tutor Availability
Unlimited Online Tutoring
1-on-1 Tutoring