Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Hell, Maximilian

  • László Szabados
Reference work entry

Alternate Name

 Höll, Miksa

BornSelmecbánya (Bánska Stiavnica, Slovakia), 15 May 1720

DiedVienna (Austria), 14 April 1792

Maximilian Hell (Höll) was a Hungarian astronomer whose reputation was tarnished because of his observations of the transit of Venus. He was the son of Máté Kornél Hell, a well-known mathematician and mine technician, and Julianna Viktória Staindl. Hell entered the Society of Jesus in 1738 and was sent to Vienna to study philosophy at the university. From 1744 he studied mathematics and astronomy and served as an assistant in the Jesuits’ observatory of Vienna. Hell spent 1 year in Lőcse (Levoca, now Slovakia) as a teacher, and in 1747 he returned to Vienna to study theology. He was ordained priest in 1752, then became the professor of mathematics in Kolozsvár (Klausenburg, now Cluj-Napoca in Romania). In 1755 Hell was appointed professor of mechanics at the university and director of the new observatory in Vienna.

Although he lived in Vienna, Hell had close...

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Selected References

  1. Ashbrook, Joseph (1984). “Father Hell’s Reputation.” In The Astronomical Scrapbook, edited by Leif J. Robinson, pp. 218–221. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Sky Publishing Corp.Google Scholar
  2. Newcomb, Simon (1883). “On Hell’s Alleged Falsification of His Observations of the Transit of Venus in 1769.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 43: 371–381.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Konkoly ObservatoryHungarian Academy of SciencesBudapestHungary