John Russell Hind

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John Russell Hind
John Russell Hind - 1.jpg
John Russell Hind c. 1860s
Born(1823-05-12)12 May 1823
Died23 December 1895(1895-12-23) (aged 72)
Twickenham, London
Known forDiscovery of asteroids and variable stars
AwardsLalande Prize (1847, 1850–1854)
Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1853)
Royal Medal (1855)

John Russell Hind FRS FRSE LLD (12 May 1823 – 23 December 1895) was an English astronomer.

Life and work[edit]

John Russell Hind was born in 1823 in Nottingham, the son of lace manufacturer John Hind and Elizabeth Russell,[1] and was educated at Nottingham High School. At age 17 he went to London to serve an apprenticeship as a civil engineer, but through the help of Charles Wheatstone he left engineering to accept a position at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich under George Biddell Airy.[2][3] Hind remained there from 1840 to 1844, at which time he succeeded W. R. Dawes as director of the private George Bishop's Observatory. In 1853 Hind became Superintendent of the Nautical Almanac, a position he held until 1891.

Hind is notable for being one of the early discoverers of asteroids. He also discovered and observed the variable stars R Leporis (also known as Hind's Crimson Star), U Geminorum, and T Tauri (also called Hind's Variable Nebula), and discovered the variability of μ Cephei. Hind discovered Nova Ophiuchi 1848 (V841 Ophiuchi), the first object of its type discovered since 1670.[4]

Hind's naming of the asteroid 12 Victoria caused some controversy. At the time, asteroids were not supposed to be named after living persons. Hind somewhat disingenuously claimed that the name was not a reference to Queen Victoria, but the mythological figure Victoria.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in June 1863[5] and President of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1880.[6]

He died in 1895 in Twickenham, London. Hind had married Fanny Fuller in 1846; he and his wife had six children.

Asteroids discovered: 10
7 Iris 13 August 1847 MPC
8 Flora 18 October 1847 MPC
12 Victoria 13 September 1850 MPC
14 Irene 19 May 1851 MPC
18 Melpomene 24 June 1852 MPC
19 Fortuna 22 August 1852 MPC
22 Kalliope 16 November 1852 MPC
23 Thalia 15 December 1852 MPC
27 Euterpe 8 November 1853 MPC
30 Urania 22 July 1854 MPC

Honours and legacy[edit]

John Russell Hind


Some sources give his name as John Russel Hind with only one "L". However, civil records[7] and 19th century British astronomical magazines consistently spell his name with two "L"s.

In the table of discovered asteroids, mpc links to the Minor Planet Center database for more information about the asteroid, along with the background on its name.


  1. ^ "Joseph Russell - Summary of Individual - Legacies of British Slave-ownership". University College London. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  2. ^ "Obituary Notices: Hind, John Russell". Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 56: 200–210. 1896. Bibcode:1896MNRAS..56..200.. doi:10.1093/mnras/56.5.200.
  3. ^ Cox, Madeline (2008). "Some Nottinghamshire Astronomers". The Antiquarian Astronomer. Society for the History of Astronomy. 4: 23–34. Bibcode:2008AntAs...4...23C.
  4. ^ Warner, Brian (1995). Cataclysmic Variable Stars. Cambridge University Press. p. 3. ISBN 0521412315.
  5. ^ "Library and Archive Catalogue". Royal Society. Retrieved 19 November 2010.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "Death Of John Russell Hind" (PDF). New York Times. 24 December 1895. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  7. ^ "Deaths Dec 1895 — Hind, John Russell, 72, Brentford, 3a, 46". FreeBMD. London: Office for National Statistic. 1895. Retrieved 3 May 2011.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]