Thursday, September 3, 2009

September 3: Heinrich Schumacher

Heinrich Christian Schumacher
September 3, 1780 – December 28, 1850

Heinrich Schumacher was a German astronomer. He was director of the Mannheim observatory from 1813 to 1815, and then became professor of astronomy in Copenhagen. From 1817 he directed the triangulation of Holstein, to which a few years later was added a complete geodetic survey of Denmark (finished after his death). For the sake of the survey an observatory was established at Altona, and Schumacher resided there permanently, chiefly occupied with the publication of Ephemerides (11 parts, 1822–1832) and of the journal Astronomische Nachrichten (founded by himself in 1821 and still being published), of which he edited thirty-one volumes.

In 1827 he was elected member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and in 1829 he won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.

His son, Richard Schumacher (1827-1902), was his assistant from 1844 to 1850 at the conservatory at Altona. Having become assistant to Carlos Guillermo Moesta (1825-1884), director of the observatory at Santiago de Chile, in 1859, he was associated with the Chilean geodesic survey in 1864. Returning in 1869, he was appointed assistant astronomer at Altona in 1873, and afterwards at Kiel.

Schumacher's nephew, Christian Andreas Schumacher (1810-1854), was associated with the geodetic survey of Denmark from 1833 to 1838, and afterwards (1844-1845) improved the observatory at Pulkowa.

The Lunar crater Schumacher is named in his honor.

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