William Frederick Denning

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William Denning celebrated in Punch magazine Vol. 102, 9 April 1892, on the occasion of The Times newspaper commenting on Denning's discovery of a small faint comet on Friday 18 March 1892 at Bishopton[disambiguation needed], Bristol

William Frederick Denning (25 November 1848 – 9 June 1931) was a British amateur astronomer[1][2] who achieved considerable success without formal scientific training.[3]

Denning devoted a great deal of time to searching for comets, and discovered several including the periodic comet 72P/Denning–Fujikawa and the lost comet D/1894 F1. The latter was the last comet discovered on British soil until the discoveries of George Alcock.

Denning also studied meteors and novae, discovering Nova Cygni 1920 (V476 Cyg). He won the Prix Valz of the French Academy of Sciences for 1895.[4] He won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1898.[5] He won the Donohoe Comet Medal for his July 23, 1890 discovery of a comet.[6][7]

Craters on Mars and the Moon are named in his honor.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Obituary Notice: Denning, William Frederick". M.n.r.a.s. 92: 248–250. Feb 1932. Bibcode:1932MNRAS..92..248. 
  2. ^ Addison, Henry Robert; Oakes, Charles Henry; Lawson, William John; Sladen, Douglas Brooke Wheelton (1907). "DENNING, William F.". Who's Who 59: 470. 
  3. ^ Hockey, Thomas (2009). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. Springer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-387-31022-0. Retrieved August 22, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Prix Valz". Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des sciences. Tomes XCII à CXXI, 3 Janvier 1881 à 30 Décembre 1895. Paris: Gauthier-Villars. 1900. pp. 1574–1575. 
  5. ^ "DENNING, William F.". Who's Who 59: 470. 1907. 
  6. ^ "Awards of the Comet-Medal of the ASP (1890-1896)". Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (San Francisco) 9: 99. 1897. JSTOR 40671005. 
  7. ^ Denning, W. F. (September 1890). "Comet c, 1890". The Observatory 13 (166): 295. 

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