Astrophysics and Space Science

, Volume 110, Issue 1, pp 11–19 | Cite as

Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel (1784–1846)

In honor of the 200th anniversary of Bessel's birth
  • Walter Fricke


May I first express my warmest thanks to the organizers of the Conference for having invited me to present a brief bibliographic report on the great astronomer F. W. Bessel. You have given me a welcome opportunity to express an appreciation of Bessel's work which has marked the beginning of research on the motion of stars and which was pioneer work on astrometric binaries and on the determination of stellar distances. Bessel has established the first celestial coordinate system which approximates an inertial system, and my colleagues and I at Heidelberg in establishing an improved fundamental reference system, the FK5, have had to review again some of Bessel's pioneer contributions to this field, and such contributions shall be mentioned later. My talk shall be divided into the following parts: (1) Bessel's course of life and family; (2) Education in astronomy in Bremen; (3) Fundamenta Astronomiae; (4) Fundamental observations at the Königsberg Observatory (or according to S. Newcomb (1906): the German School of Astrometry); (5) 61 Cygni; (6) Bibliography of Bessel's original works.


  1. Auwers, A.: 1879,Fundamental Catalog, Publ. Astron. Gesellschaft XIV, Engelmann, Leipzig.Google Scholar
  2. Herczeg, T.: 1984,Astrophys. Space Sci. 99, 34.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Newcomb, S.: 1872,Wash. Obs. for 1870, App. III.Google Scholar
  4. Newcomb, S.: 1898,Astron. Pap. Wash. Vol. 8, Paart 2.Google Scholar
  5. Strassl, H.: 1946,Naturwissenschaften 33, 65.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Walter Fricke
    • 1
  1. 1.Astronomisches Rechen-InstitutHeidelbergF.R.G.

Personalised recommendations