adams, john couch

adams, john couch defined in 1939 year

adams, john couch - Adams, john couch (1819-92);
adams, john couch - British astronomer. Born at Laneast, near Launceston, Cornwall, June 5, 1819, he is famous for having predicted the existence of, and ultimately discovered, the planet Neptune. While working for the Cambridge tripos in 1841, he was struck by the unaccountable anomalies in the motions of Uranus. After graduating as senior wrangler in 1843, he devoted himself to the study of these anomalies, working from the hypothesis that they were derived from a more distant and hitherto unknown planet. By Oct., 1845, he had approximately solved the inverse problem of perturbation on which he had been engaged, and submitted the result of his work to the Astronomer Royal.

Owing to delays in investigation at Greenwich and Cambridge, the credit of priority passed to the French astronomer, Leverrier, who had been engaged upon the same problems and worked out a hypothetical orbit for the disturbing planet. Leverrier's work was completed in the following June, and the planet was found by the German astronomer Galle on Sept. 23, 1846, very near the place assigned to it by Leverrier. It was observed at Cambridge six days later. Adams's name is also associated with investigations into the periodic reappearances of the Leonids, and the determination of 33¼ years as their cycle. Adams became professor of astronomy (1858), and was director of the observatory, at Cambridge from 1860 until his death, Jan. 21, 1892.

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