Friday, December 4, 2009

December 4: Wilhelm Tempel

Ernst Wilhelm Leberecht Tempel
December 4, 1821 – March 16, 1889

Wilhelm Tempel, was a German astronomer who worked in Marseille until the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, then later moved to Italy.

He was a prolific discoverer of comets, discovering or co-discovering 21 in all, including Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, now known to be the parent body of the Leonid meteor shower, and 9P/Tempel, the target of the NASA probe Deep Impact in 2005.

Other periodic comets that bear his name include 10P/Tempel and 11P/Tempel-Swift-LINEAR.

The asteroid 3808 Tempel and the Lunar crater Tempel are named in his honor.

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