Date: 03 Sep 2014

Klinkerfues, Ernst Friedrich Wilhelm

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BornHofgeismar, (Hessen, Germany), 29 March 1827

DiedGöttingen, Germany, 28 January 1884

Textbook author Ernst F. W. Klinkerfues discovered eight comets and contributed to meteor theory. The son of Johann Reinhard and Sabine (née Dedolph) Klinkerfues, Ernst Klinkerfues was supported by relatives during a difficult youth. After school (gymnasium and polytechnic school) he worked as a surveyor with a railroad company.

From 1847 to 1851 Klinkerfues studied astronomy and mathematics in Marburg. In 1851, Carl Gauss accepted him as assistant at the Göttingen Observatory. After Gauss’ death in 1855 the physicist Wilhelm Weber (1894–1891) was director of the observatory. Klinkerfues wrote his doctoral thesis on “A New Method to Calculate the Orbits of Binary Stars” and received his doctoral honors in 1855. Klinkerfues discovered or codiscovered eight comets in the years 1853–1863. His work was not only on astronomy, but also on meteorological themes. In addition to other instruments, Klinkerfues ...