Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 1454-1455

Date:

Melotte, Philibert Jacques

BornCamden Town, (London), England, 29 January 1880

DiedAbinger, Surrey, England, 20 March 1961

English astrometrist Philibert Melotte discovered the eighth satellite of Jupiter, Pasiphae, and some southern nebulae carry his name. He was the son of a (Belgian-born, hence the names) lecturer at the Royal Naval College, who enrolled him at the Roan School in Greenwich, where Melotte completed his formal education at age 15. He then joined the staff of the Royal Observatory (Greenwich) as a supernumerary computer, remaining on the staff there for his entire career. At the time, it was the custom of the Royal Observatory to recruit the bulk of its staff members for observation and data reduction from local schools. This was an ideal opportunity for Melotte, as those students who showed particular talent (and were able to pass a set of fairly challenging examinations) were allowed to take up permanent posts when they fell vacant. Melotte was one of these students who, by exceptional talent, r ...

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