Henry Draper studied at the medical school which he finished in 1857 at age 20. He started designing and building telescopes. He did pioneering work in astrophotography and photographed the Moon, planets, comets, stars and nebulae as well as over 100 spectra of these objects. Among his photos was the first-ever photograph of a nebula, the Orion Nebula, of September 30, 1870. A much improved, 137-minute exposure of that nebula followed on March 14, 1882.
Henry Draper died in New York on November 20, 1882 of a respiratory ailment at age of only 45.
He initiated work which led to the compilation of the Henry Draper Catalog of 225,300 stars brighter than mag +8.0 and their spectra.
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