Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Another opportunity involves Pallas, which was discovered in 1802 by German astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers. Although smaller than Ceres, Pallas can reach magnitude 6.4 at its very brightest.
At least one scientist, astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers, had begun to accept the notion of a heavenly origin for Chladni's stones.
The fourth asteroid discovered, Vesta was found as a moving object by Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers on March 29, 1807, while it was in Virgo.
Early in the 19th century, German physician and amateur astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers argued that if stars were evenly distributed throughout space in an infinite universe, an observer looking far enough in any direction ought to see a star.
Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers slept only four hours a night.