Saturday, June 20, 2009

June 20: John S. Paraskevopoulos

The Lunar crater Paraskevopoulos

John S Paraskevopoulos
June 20, 1889 – March 15, 1951

John Stefanos Paraskevopoulos was a Greek/South African astronomer. He was known as Dr Paras to the astronomical community. He was born in Piraeus, Greece and graduated from the University of Athens.

He served in the Greek army during the Balkan Wars and World War I. In 1919, he went to America for two years, spending part of that time working at Yerkes Observatory where he met and married Dorothy W. Block. In 1921, he returned to Athens where he became head of the Athens Observatory.

He left this post due to a lack of funding and went to Arequipa, Peru to work at Boyden Station, a branch of Harvard Observatory, with a view to finding a more suitable location for it. The decision was made to move Boyden Station to South Africa due to better weather conditions, and Paraskevopoulos served there as director of Boyden Observatory in South Africa from 1927 to 1951.

He co-discovered a couple of comets. The crater Paraskevopoulos on the Moon is named in his honor.

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