Cornelis Johannes van Houten
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|Cornelis Johannes van Houten|
18 February 1920|
The Hague, Netherlands
|Died||24 August 2002(aged 82)|
|Other names||Kees van Houten|
|Spouse||Ingrid van Houten-Groeneveld|
|Children||Karel van Houten|
Born in The Hague, he spent his entire career at Leiden University except for a brief period (1954–1956) as research assistant at Yerkes Observatory. He received his undergraduate degree in 1940, but World War II interrupted his studies and he did not get his Ph.D. until 1961 (on the surface photometry of extragalactic nebulae).
In a jointly-credited trio with Tom Gehrels and Ingrid, and occasionally including fellow astronomer Bernhard Schmidt, he was an extremely prolific discoverer of many thousands of asteroids. Gehrels did a sky survey using the 48-inch Schmidt telescope at Palomar Observatory and shipped the plates to the van Houtens at Leiden Observatory, who analyzed them for new asteroids. The trio are jointly credited with several thousand discoveries.
From the statistical properties uncovered it became clear that asteroids fall into certain "families".
He also studied the radial velocities of close binary stars. He never retired, but remained active and published articles until his death, on asteroids and eclipsing binaries. The main-belt asteroid 1673 van Houten was named in his honor.
- Schmidt, Bernhard (1879-1935)
- Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (1673) van Houten. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 133. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
- Obituary (in Dutch)