John Couch Adams
(1819-1992)

 

English astronomer who mathematically deduced the existence of the planet Neptune 1845 from the effects of its gravitational pull on the motion of Uranus, although it was not found until 1846 by J G Galle.
Adams also studied the Moon's motion, the Leonid meteors, and terrestrial magnetism.
Adams was born in Landeast, Cornwall, and educated at Cambridge, where he spent virtually his entire career.
He became professor 1858 and director of the observatory 1860.
The calculations to account for certain aberrations in the orbit of Uranus were taken up independently by Adams and French astronomer Urbain Leverrier.
By 1845 Adams had determined the position and certain characteristics of the hypothetical planet affecting the orbit, but a search for the new planet was not instigated for nearly a year at Cambridge.
Meanwhile, Leverrier sent his figure to Galle at the Berlin Observatory, and Galle, having better maps, was able to find the planet within a few hours.
The discovery of Neptune was credited to Leverrier.


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