James Craig Watson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from James C. Watson)
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people named James Watson, see James Watson (disambiguation).
Asteroids discovered: 22
79 Eurynome September 14, 1863
93 Minerva August 24, 1867
94 Aurora September 6, 1867
100 Hekate July 11, 1868
101 Helena August 15, 1868
103 Hera September 7, 1868
104 Klymene September 13, 1868
105 Artemis September 16, 1868
106 Dione October 10, 1868
115 Thyra August 6, 1871
119 Althaea April 3, 1872
121 Hermione May 12, 1872
128 Nemesis November 25, 1872
132 Aethra June 13, 1873
133 Cyrene August 16, 1873
139 Juewa October 10, 1874
150 Nuwa October 18, 1875
161 Athor April 19, 1876
168 Sibylla September 28, 1876
174 Phaedra September 2, 1877
175 Andromache October 1, 1877
179 Klytaemnestra November 11, 1877

James Craig Watson (January 28, 1838–November 22, 1880) was a Canadian-American astronomer born in the village of Fingal, Ontario Canada. His family relocated to Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1850.

At age 15 he was matriculated at the University of Michigan, where he studied the classical languages. He later was lectured in astronomy by professor Franz Brünnow.

He was the second director of Detroit Observatory (from 1863 to 1879), succeeding Franz Brünnow. He wrote the textbook Theoretical Astronomy in 1868.

He discovered 22 asteroids, beginning with 79 Eurynome in 1863. One of his asteroid discoveries, 139 Juewa was made in Beijing when Watson was there to observe the 1874 transit of Venus. The name Juewa was chosen by Chinese officials (瑞華, or in modern pinyin, ruìhuá). Another was 121 Hermione in 1872, from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and this asteroid was found to have a small asteroid moon in 2002.[1]

He was a strong believer in the existence of the planet Vulcan, a hypothetical planet closer to the Sun than Mercury, which is now known not to exist (however the existence of small Vulcanoid planetoids remains a possibility). He believed he had seen such two such planets during a July 1878 solar eclipse in Wyoming.

He died of peritonitis at the age of only 42. He had amassed a considerable amount of money through non-astronomical business activities. By bequest he established the James Craig Watson Medal, awarded every three years by the National Academy of Sciences for contributions to astronomy.

The asteroid 729 Watsonia is named in his honour, as is the lunar crater Watson.

References[edit]

  • Richard Baum and William Sheehan (1997). In Search of Planet Vulcan, The Ghost in Newton's Clockwork Machine. ISBN 0-306-45567-6. 

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]

  • "Biography". Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.