Date: 03 Sep 2014

Prentice, John Philip Manning

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BornStowmarket, Suffolk, England, 14 March 1903

DiedStowmarket, Suffolk, England, 6 October 1981

John Prentice discovered the Giacobinid (Draconid) meteor shower and Nova DQ Herculis 1934, but his main contributions to astronomy came through his careful supervision of the British Astronomical Association [BAA] Meteor Section for over 30 years. Prentice played an important role in establishing radar observation as a primary technique for studying meteors.

A lawyer by profession, Manning Prentice (as he was known to his friends) acquired an interest in astronomy as a schoolboy. He first began observing the Moon and planets with a small refractor, and later meteors with his naked eye. After joining the BAA in 1919, Prentice continued his meteor observations and was appointed leader of the BAA Meteor Section in 1923, holding that position until 1954.

In 1915, Reverend Martin Davidson (1880–1968) pointed out that the orbit of the short-period comet 21P/Giacobini – Zinner passed close enough to ...