Anders Jean Lexell

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lexell, Anders Jean


(in Russian, Leksel’, Andrei Ivanovich). Born Dec. 24, 1740, in Äbo, Finland, of Swedish parents; died Nov. 30, 1784, in St. Petersburg. Russian astronomer. Academician of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1771).

Lexell came to St. Petersburg in 1768 and began working under the direction of L. Euler. Lexell calculated the orbits of the comets 1769 and 1770 I and showed that the perturbing influence of the planet Jupiter was the cause of the radical change in the orbit of comet 1770 I. He also determined that the new celestial object discovered by W. Herschel in 1781 was not a comet, as Herschel assumed, but the planet Uranus. By investigating the irregularities in its motion, Lexell concluded that a still more distant planet existed.


Réfléxion sur le temps périodique des comètes en gènèral et principalement sur celui de la comète observèe en 1770. St. Petersburg, 1778.
In Russian translation:
Issledovaniia o novoi planete, otkrytoi Gershelem.... St. Petersburg, 1783.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.