Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 1231-1232


Kohlschütter, Arnold

  • Thomas HockeyAffiliated withDepartment of Earth Science, University of Northern Iowa Email author 
  • , Virginia TrimbleAffiliated withUniversity of California, Irvine School of Physical Sciences

BornHalle, Germany, 6 July 1883

DiedBonn, (Germany), 28 May 1969

Arnold Kohlschütter and Walter Adams found subtle criteria that could distinguish ordinary giants from dwarf stars.

Kohlschütter was educated at Göttingen University, a student of Karl Schwarzschild. He spent 3 years at Mount Wilson Observatory, California, from 1911 to 1914. There he cooperated with Adams in the work that led to a new method for determining the distances to stars.

Kohlschütter and Adams examined the spectra of stars with both large and small parallaxes, but similar apparent magnitudes. The stars with smaller parallaxes were necessarily more luminous. The two Mount Wilson spectroscopists found differences in the absorption-line strength ratios between the two sets of stars – even within the same spectral class. Once calibrated using stars of known distance, these differences could be observed in stars without measured parallax in order to determine their distances. The method refined the technique known as sp ...

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