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William Huggins

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William Huggins

Sir William Huggins (February 7 1824May 12 1910) was a British astronomer.

He built a private observatory and carried out extensive observations of the spectral emission lines and absorption lines of various celestial objects. He was the first to distinguish between nebulas and galaxies by showing that some (like the Orion Nebula) had pure emission spectra characteristic of gas, while others like the Andromeda Galaxy had spectra characteristic of stars.

He won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1867 jointly with William Allen Miller, and then again, alone, in 1885. He also won the Copley Medal in 1898 and the Bruce Medal in 1904.

The Huggins crater on the Moon and a crater on Mars are named after him, as is the asteroid 2635 Huggins.


Publications

  • Spectrum analysis in its application to the heavenly bodies. Manchester, 1870 (Science lectures for the people; series 2, no. 3)
  • (with Lady Huggins): An atlas of representative stellar spectra from [lambda] 4870 to [lambda] 3300, together with a discussion of the evolution order of the stars, and the interpretation of their spectra; preceded by a short history of the observatory. London, 1899 (Publications of Sir William Huggins's Observatory; v. 1)
  • The Royal Society, or, Science in the state and in the schools. London, 1906.
  • The scientific papers of Sir William Huggins; edited by Sir William and Lady Huggins. London, 1909 (Publications of Sir William Huggins's Observatory; v. 2)



Preceded by:
The Lord Lister
President of the Royal Society
1900–1905
Succeeded by:
The Lord Rayleigh

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