John Louis Emil Dreyer (February 13, 1852 - September 14, 1926)

[dreyer.jpg] Born and grown up in Copenhagen, John Louis Emil Dreyer got interested in history, math and physics.

In 1874, he was appointed at Birr Castle as an assistant of Lawrence Parsons, the Fourth Earl of Rosse, son and successor of William Parsons, the thrid Earl or Lord Rosse, and worked with that facility's giant six-foot aperture telescope nicknamed Leviathan, at that time world's largest telescope. Here he began observing and surveying deepsky objects (star clusters, nebulae and galaxies), and in 1877 published a supplement of about 1000 new "nebulae" to John Herschel's General Catalogue (Dreyer 1877).

Also in 1878, he went to Dublin and worked as assistant at Dunsink Observatory from 1878-1882 before he became director of Armagh Observatory 1882-1916.

Armagh Observatory was badly funded at those days and mainly had old, considerably small instruments. So Dreyer concentrated on compiling new catalogs from older observations:

In particular, the latter two with their overall 13,226 entries have remained standard references for deepsky objects. Originally, Dreyer only had planned to publish a further supplement to the GC when he was asked, by the Royal Astronomical Society, to assemble a "new general catalogue" of nonstellar objects. It may be worth knowing that Dreyer himself discovered 17 of the NGC objects (2 of these won't exist). Other works include historical studies, in particular of Tycho Brahe's work.

J.L.E. Dreyer died at Oxford on September 14, 1926 at age 74.

He was honored by naming a Moon Crater after him (10.0N, 96.9E, 61.0 km diameter, in 1970).


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