Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Edward Emerson Barnard
He was born in Nashville, Tennessee to Reuben Barnard and Elizabeth Jane Barnard (née Haywood), and had one brother. His father died before his birth, so he grew up in an impoverished family and did not receive much in the way of formal education. His first interest was in the field of photography, and he became a photographer's assistant at the age of nine.
He later developed an interest in astronomy. In 1876 he purchased a 5-inch refractor telescope, and in 1881 he discovered his first comet. (But he failed to announce his discovery.) He found his second comet later the same year and a third in 1882.
While he was still working at a photography studio he was married to the English-born woman Rhoda Calvert in 1881. In the 1880s a wealthy patron awarded US$200 per discovery of a new comet. Edward discovered a total of eight, and used the money to build a house for his bride.
With his name being brought to the attention of amateur astronomers in Nashville, they collectively raised enough money to give Edward a fellowship to Vanderbilt University. He graduated from the college at the age of 30. He then joined the staff of the Lick Observatory.
In 1892 he made observations of a nova and was the first to notice the gaseous emissions, thus deducing that it was a stellar explosion. The same year he also discovered Amalthea, the fifth moon of Jupiter. He was the first to discover a new moon of Jupiter since Galileo Galilei in 1609. This was the last satellite discovered by visual observation (rather than by examining photographic plates or other recorded images).
In 1895 he joined the University of Chicago as professor of astronomy. There he was able to use the 40-inch telescope at Yerkes Observatory. Much of his work during this period was taking photographs of the Milky Way. Together with Max Wolf, he discovered that certain dark regions of the galaxy were actually clouds of gas and dust that obscured the more distant stars in the background.
The faint Barnard's Star is named for Edward Barnard after he discovered in 1916 that it had a very large proper motion, relative to other stars. This is the second nearest star system to the Sun, second only to the Alpha Centauri system.
He passed away on February 6, 1923 in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, and was buried in Nashville. After his death, his exceptional collection of photographs was published as Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way.
- C/1881 S1
- C/1882 R2
- D/Barnard 1 (D/1884 O1)
- C/1885 N1
- C/1885 X2
- C/1887 B3
- C/1887 D1
- C/1887 J1
- C/1888 U1
- C/1888 R1
- C/1889 G1
- D/Barnard 2 (D/1889 M1)
- C/1891 T1
- D/Barnard 3 (D/1892 T1)
- Awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1897.
- Awarded the Bruce Medal in 1917.
- Barnard crater on the Moon is named for him, as is Barnard crater on Mars.
- The Barnard Regio on Ganymede is named for him.
- An asteroid 819 Barnardiana is also named in his honor.
- AJ 35 (1923) 25
- AN 218 (1923) 159/160 (one line)
- AN 218 (1923) 241/242 (in German)
- AN 218 (1923) 247/248 (in English)
- ApJ 57 (1923) 128 (one paragraph)
- ApJ 58 (1923) 1
- JRASC 17 (1923) 97
- JRASC 18 (1924) 309
- MNRAS 84 (1924) 221
- Obs 46 (1923) 95 (one paragraph)
- Obs 46 (1923) 158
- PASP 35 (1923) 72 (one paragraph)
- PASP 35 (1923) 87
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