E. Myles Standish

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E. Myles Standish
Born (1939-03-05) March 5, 1939 (age 80)
Alma materWesleyan University: BA, MA; Yale University: PhD
Scientific career
InstitutionsYale University, Caltech/JPL
ThesisNumerical Studies of the Gravitational Problem of N Bodies (1968)
Doctoral advisorVictor G Szebehely

Erland Myles Standish, Jr. (born March 5, 1939) is a mathematical astronomer largely working in the field of solar system dynamics and celestial mechanics. He is a former professor at Yale University and had worked for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


Standish gained his Ph.D degree at Yale University with a thesis, produced in 1968, called "Numerical Studies of the Gravitational Problem of N Bodies" and his early work at Yale University Observatory concerned celestial mechanics and mathematical astronomy. He joined the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the 1970s and continued his work there until his retirement in about 2006.


Standish worked on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Development Ephemeris.

Early versions refined the accuracy of these fundamental astronomical data-sets by including many recent and accurate observational data, new types of data, using improved data processing methods, including refined equations of motion which more accurately described the actual physics of the solar system.[1] With the inclusion of the lunar work of J. G. Williams and others, improved solar, planetary and lunar ephemerides were developed (in Dev. Eph. 102) far enough to have a significant historical as well as current coverage.[2]

Later versions of the Development Ephemerides include Development Ephemeris DE200, which was officially used in the Astronomical Almanac (and in derived form, also in the Nautical Almanac) as the basis for the ephemerides of sun, moon and planets from 1984 through 2002; and DE405, which has been the basis of the corresponding ephemerides in the Astronomical Almanac and Nautical Almanac from and including 2003, to the present date.[3][4]

Later examples of the Development Ephemerides supported the navigation of specific NASA planetary space missions with precise results.

Standish's work towards the development of the ephemerides took him also into the field of the history of astronomy, including study of the recently noted occurrence of Neptune in the notes of Galileo, identifying an additional manuscript observation of Neptune by Galileo (who had regarded it as a background star while studying the satellites of Jupiter), and analyzing its significance for the modern-day ephemerides.[5]

Standish has collaborated with Dr. Elena V. Pitjeva and Dr. Agnes Fienga on the topic of a better determination of the Astronomical Unit and of the masses of the asteroids. Standish has also dealt with the Pioneer Anomaly issue by modeling it in a modified version of the usual ephemerides and fitting such a new dynamical theory of planetary motions to the usual, well-established observational data set.


In 2008, Standish received the NASA Distinguished Service Medal; in 2015, he was given Wesleyan University's Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Bibliometric information[edit]

According to the NASA ADS database, Standish's h-index is 21, with a total number of citations, self-citations being excluded, equal to 2003.


  1. ^ Standish, E. M., Jr.; Keesey, M. S. W.; and Newhall, X. X. (Feb 1976), JPL Development Ephemeris number 96
  2. ^ Newhall, X. X., Standish, E. M., & Williams, J. G (1983), DE 102 – A numerically integrated ephemeris of the moon and planets spanning forty-four centuries Astronomy and Astrophysics (ISSN 0004-6361), vol. 125, no. 1, Aug. 1983, pp. 150–167. (The long ephemeris DE102 has since been superseded by DE406, which is a long (6000-year) version of the current standard DE405.)
  3. ^ For example E M Standish (1997) Jet Propulsion Laboratory Planetary and Lunar Ephemerides, (including DE200, DE405 and DE406) published on CD-ROM and other (e.g. online) formats.
  4. ^ (History of USNO Almanac Publications)
  5. ^ Standish, E. M. & Nobili, A. M. (1997), Galileo's observations of Neptune, Baltic Astronomy, vol. 6, pp. 97–104.