Charles Olivier and the Rise of Meteor Science

  • Richard Taibi

Part of the Springer Biographies book series (SPRINGERBIOGS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxxii
  2. Olivier and Meteor Astronomy 1884–1936

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Richard Taibi
      Pages 3-40
    3. Richard Taibi
      Pages 41-97
    4. Richard Taibi
      Pages 99-122
    5. Richard Taibi
      Pages 123-171
    6. Richard Taibi
      Pages 173-250
    7. Richard Taibi
      Pages 251-286
    8. Richard Taibi
      Pages 287-288
  3. The Stalwarts’ Biographies

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 289-289
    2. Richard Taibi
      Pages 291-296
    3. Richard Taibi
      Pages 297-336
    4. Richard Taibi
      Pages 337-369
    5. Richard Taibi
      Pages 371-481
  4. Richard Taibi
    Pages E1-E1
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 483-497

About this book


This fascinating portrait of an amateur astronomy movement tells the story of how Charles Olivier recruited a hard-working cadre of citizen scientists to rehabilitate the study of meteors. By 1936, Olivier and members of his American Meteor Society had succeeded in disproving an erroneous idea about meteor showers. Using careful observations, they restored the public’s trust in predictions about periodic showers and renewed respect for meteor astronomy among professional astronomers in the United States. Charles Olivier and his society of observers who were passionate about watching for meteors in the night sky left a major impact on the field.

In addition to describing Olivier’s career and describing his struggles with competitive colleagues in a hostile scientific climate, the author provides biographies of some of the scores of women and men of all ages who aided Olivier in making shower observations, from the Leonids and Perseids and others. Half of these amateur volunteers were from 13 to 25 years of age. Their work allowed Olivier and the AMS to contradict the fallacious belief in stationary and long-enduring meteor showers, bringing the theory of their origin into alignment with celestial mechanics. Thanks to Olivier and his collaborators, the study of meteors took a great leap forward in the twentieth century to earn a place as a worthy topic of study among professional astronomers.


American Meteor Society history Meteor shower prediction history Development of meteorite study Amateur astronomers and meteor hunting stationary radiants Mapping the meteor showers in the 1930s Observing meteors in twentieth century Linking cometary debris and meteor showers

Authors and affiliations

  • Richard Taibi
    • 1
  1. 1.Temple HillsUSA

Bibliographic information