The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2007 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, F. Jamil Ragep, JoAnn Palmeri, Marvin Bolt

Dembowski, Ercole [Hercules]

  • Raffaello Braga
Reference work entry

BornMilan, (Italy), 12 January 1812

DiedAlbizzate, (Lombardy), Italy, 19 January 1881

Baron Ercole Dembowski observed double stars with unprecedented accuracy, remeasuring almost all stars listed in the Dorpat Catalogue. His instructions and suggestions on how to measure double stars with the micrometer are still considered of great value for the observer.

The son of Giovanni Dembowski, a nobleman of Polish descent and general in the army of the Kingdom of Italy founded by Emperor Napoleon I, Ercole Dembowski was orphaned in 1825 at the age of 13. Dembowski enlisted in the Austrian Imperial Royal Navy, eventually rising to become a commissioned officer. He retired from the navy in 1843 for reasons of health and settled in Naples. In Naples, Dembowski met Antonio Nobile, an astronomer at the Capodimonte Observatory. Encouraged by Nobile, Dembowski purchased a 5‐in. refractor with which he started to measure double stars from his observatory in San Giorgio a Cremano, a Naples suburb.

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Selected References

  1. Aitken, R. G. (1935). The Binary Stars. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw‐Hill.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  2. Dembowski, E. (1883). Misure micrometriche di stelle doppie e multiple fatte negli anni 1852–1878. Rome: Salviucci.Google Scholar
  3. Huggins, William (1878). “Address Delivered by the President, Mr. Huggins, on Presenting the Gold Medal of the Society to Baron Dembowski.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 38: 249–253.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raffaello Braga

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