Keeler, James Edward

Keeler, James Edward,

1857–1900, American astronomer, b. La Salle, Ill. At the age of 21 he went on the Naval Observatory expedition to Colorado to observe the solar eclipse of July, 1878. In 1886 he became an assistant and in 1888 full astronomer at Lick Observatory, Mt. Hamilton, Calif. He was director of the Allegheny Observatory from 1891 to 1898. In the course of his examination of the spectra of the heavenly bodies, he furnished confirmation for James Clerk Maxwell's theory that the rings of Saturn are composed of meteoric particles. In 1898, Keeler returned to Lick Observatory as director, and there, working with the Crossley reflector, he observed and photographed large numbers of nebulae whose existence had never before been suspected. He contributed memoirs to the Royal Astronomical Society of England and many papers to the Astrophysical Journal, of which he was coeditor. He wrote Spectroscopic Observations of Nebulae (1894).
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Keeler, James Edward

(1857–1900) astronomer; born in La Salle, Ill. He directed the Allegheny Observatory (1891–98) and the Lick Observatory from 1898. He established that Saturn's rings consist of meteoric particles and he carried out important spectroscopic work on 120,000 nebulae.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.