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Le Verrier, Urbain Jean Joseph

Le Verrier, Urbain Jean Joseph ürbăN´ zhäN zhôzĕf´ ləvĕryā´ [key], 1811–77, French astronomer who made calculations that led to the discovery of the planet Neptune . In considering the perturbations of Uranus , Le Verrier made calculations indicating the presence of an unknown planet in an orbit outside that of Uranus. At the time, this was considered the crowning achievement of mathematical astronomy. The same conclusion had been reached by John Couch Adams a little earlier but had not been published, so Le Verrier was initially given sole credit for the discovery of Neptune, which was actually first observed, as a result of Le Verrier's instructions, by Johann Galle in 1846. After much controversy both Adams and Le Verrier were honored as responsible for the planet's discovery. In 1854, Le Verrier became director of the Paris Observatory.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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