Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 134-134


Backlund, Jöns Oskar

BornWermland, Sweden, 28 April 1846

DiedPulkovo, Russia, 29 August 1916

Jöns Backlund is best known for his lifelong research on the motion and brightness of comet 2P/Encke. A mathematician and theoretical astronomer, Backlund earned his doctorate degree in astronomy from the University of Uppsala, Sweden, in 1875. He was hired as assistant director of the Russian Royal Observatory at Pulkovo in 1879 by Otto Wilhelm Struve. In 1883, Backlund was elected to the Imperial Russian Academy of Sciences of Petrograd, which allowed him to move to Saint Petersburg. Backlund was called upon by the Russian Academy to become the director of Pulkovo Observatory in 1895, following the resignation of Fedor Bredikhin. Backlund served in this capacity for 21 years, during which time he successfully improved the work of the observatory by employing large numbers of staff.

Backlund devoted himself to what became the passion of his lifetime, computing the orbit of the comet named for

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