Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 2361-2362


Wirtz, Carl Wilhelm

  • Mihkel JoeveerAffiliated with

BornKrefeld, (Nordrhein-Westfalen), Germany, 24 August 1876

DiedKiel, Germany, 18 February 1939

Carl Wirtz, the astronomer, measured magnitudes and positions of nebulae, and made many observations of Solar System objects. He was among the first to study the redshift-magnitude and redshift-diameter diagrams of nebulae (galaxies), which is why Allan Sandage, the pupil and successor of Edwin Hubble, called Wirtz “the European Hubble without telescope.”

Wirtz studied astronomy at Bonn University (1895–1898). After that he served as an assistant at the Wien-Ottakrieg Observatory (1899–1901), as a lecturer in the Hamburg School of Navigation (1901–1902), and as an astronomer-observer and professor at the Strasbourg Observatory (1901–1915). In 1905 he married Helene Borchardt. He served in the German army (1916–1918). In 1919 Wirtz was appointed as an extraordinary professor of the Kiel Observatory, and in the years 1934–1936 he served as the director of that observatory.

The last years of Wirtz’ ...

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