Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers

(redirected from Heinrich Wilhelm Matthaus Olbers)

Olbers, Heinrich Wilhelm


Born Oct. 11, 1758, in Arbergen, near Bremen; died Mar. 2, 1840, in Bremen. German astronomer and physician.

Olbers was primarily involved in observing comets and calculating cometary orbits. He discovered six new comets, one of which, discovered in 1815, bears his name. He also developed a method of determining the parabolic orbit of a comet on the basis of three observations. In 1802, using K. Gauss’ calculations, he rediscovered the first asteroid, Ceres, which had been lost track of shortly after its discovery in 1801. That same year he discovered a second asteroid, Pallas, and in 1807 a fourth, Vesta. Olbers advanced the hypothesis that asteroids are remnants of a planet that had been situated between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.


Über die leichteste und bequemste Methode, die Bahn eines Kometen aus einegen Beobachtungen zu berechnen. Weimar, 1797.