John E. Mellish
John E. Mellish lived outside of Madison, Wisconsin in Cottage Grove. By age 24 he was credited with discovering or co-discovering two comets: comet Grigg-Mellish (1907b, 1907 II, C/1907 G1) and comet 1907e (1907 V, C/1907 T1) using home built telescopes, and received astronomical medals from both the United States and Mexico as a result. He later discovered another three comets: 1915a (1915 II, C/1915 C1), 1915d (1915 IV, C/1915 R1), and 1917a (1917 I, D/1917 F1, D/Mellish 1).
In November 1915 he announced to have observed craters on Mars, and being the second person to do so after E. E. Barnard. Both claims are disputed to this day, but he is still credited to be the first human to recognize craters on Mars using the great 40-inch Yerkes refractor.
A crater on Mars (Mellish) was named in his honor.
- Discussion of crater observations on Mars
- Wisconsin Academy review The boy astronomer of Cottage Grove
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