Mayer, Johann Tobias

Mayer, Johann Tobias

Mayer, Johann Tobias (yōˈhän tōbēˈäs mīˈər), 1723–62, German mathematician and astronomer. In 1751 he became professor of economics and mathematics at the Univ. of Göttingen, and in 1754 director of the observatory there. He is especially noted for his lunar tables (1752), which were important in precisely determining longitude at sea. Mayer is remembered also for his improvements in mapmaking and for the invention of the repeating circle, later used in measuring the arc of the meridian. A collection of his memoirs was published in 1775; a revision of his catalog of 998 zodiacal stars, newly computed, appeared in 1894.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mayer, Johann Tobias


Born Feb. 17, 1723, in Marbach (Württemberg); died Feb. 20, 1762, in Göttingen. German astronomer.

A self-taught mathematician and astronomer, Mayer was appointed a professor at the University of Göttingen in 1751. He developed a theory of lunar motion and calculated lunar tables. Mayer created the theory of the transit instrument, whose fundamental formula bears his name. He also compiled a catalog of the positions of 998 zodiacal stars.


Theoria Lunae juxta systema Newtonianum. London, 1769.


Lynn, W. T. “Johann Tobias Mayer.” The Observatory, 1908, vol. 31, pp. 100, 103.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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