Edward Emerson Barnard

Edward Emerson Barnard (December 16, 1857 – February 6, 1923) was an American astronomer. He was commonly known as E. E. Barnard, and was recognized as a gifted observational astronomer. He is best known for his discovery of the high proper motion of Barnard's Star in 1916, which is named in his honor.

Edward Emerson Barnard
Edward Emerson Barnard
BornDecember 16, 1857
DiedFebruary 6, 1923 (aged 65)
Known forBarnard's Star
AwardsLalande Prize (1892)
Janssen Medal (1900)
Bruce Medal (1917)
Scientific career

Early life

Barnard was born in Nashville, Tennessee, to Reuben Barnard and Elizabeth Jane Barnard (née Haywood), and had one brother. His father died three months before his birth,[1] so he grew up in an impoverished family and did not receive much in the way of formal education. His first interest was in the field of photography, and he became a photographer's assistant at the age of nine.

He later developed an interest in astronomy. In 1876 he purchased a 5-inch (130 mm) refractor telescope, and in 1881 he discovered his first comet, but failed to announce his discovery. He found his second comet later the same year and a third in 1882.

While he was still working at a photography studio he was married to the English-born woman Rhoda Calvert in 1881. In the 1880s, Hulbert Harrington Warner offered US$200 per discovery of a new comet. Barnard discovered a total of five,[2] and used the money to build a house for himself and his wife.

With his name being brought to the attention of amateur astronomers in Nashville, they collectively raised enough money to give Barnard a fellowship to Vanderbilt University. He never graduated from the school, but did receive the only honorary degree Vanderbilt has ever awarded.[3] He joined the staff of the Lick Observatory in 1887, though he later clashed with the director, Edward S. Holden, over access to observing time on the larger instruments and other issues of research and management.[4]

Astronomical work

Barnard saw the gegenschein in 1882, not aware of earlier papers by Theodor Brorsen and T. W. Backhouse.[5] In 1889 he observed the moon Iapetus pass behind Saturn's rings. As he watched Iapetus pass through the space between Saturn's innermost rings and the planet itself, he saw a shadow pass over the moon. Although he did not realize it at the time, he had discovered proof of the "spokes" of Saturn, dark shadows running perpendicular to the circular paths of the rings. These spokes were doubted at first, but confirmed by the spacecraft Voyager 1.

In 1892 he made observations of a nova and was the first to notice the gaseous emissions, thus deducing that it was a stellar explosion. The same year he also discovered Amalthea, the fifth moon of Jupiter. He was the first to discover a new moon of Jupiter since Galileo Galilei in 1609. This was the last satellite discovered by visual observation (rather than by examining photographic plates or other recorded images).

In 1895 he joined the University of Chicago as professor of astronomy. There he was able to use the 40-inch (1,000 mm) telescope at Yerkes Observatory. Much of his work during this period was taking photographs of the Milky Way. Together with Max Wolf, he discovered that certain dark regions of the galaxy were actually clouds of gas and dust that obscured the more distant stars in the background. From 1905, his niece Mary R. Calvert worked as his assistant and computer.

The faint Barnard's Star is named for Edward Barnard after he discovered in 1916 that it had a very large proper motion, relative to other stars. This is the second nearest star system to the Sun, second only to the Alpha Centauri system.

He was also a pioneering astrophotographer. His Barnard Catalogue lists a series of dark nebulae, known as Barnard objects, giving them numerical designations akin to the Messier catalog. They begin with Barnard 1 and end with Barnard 370. He published his initial list with the 1919 paper in the Astrophysical Journal, "On the Dark Markings of the Sky with a Catalogue of 182 such Objects".

He died on February 6, 1923 in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, and was buried in Nashville. After his death, many examples from his exceptional collection of astronomical photographs were published in 1927 as A Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way, this work having been finished by Edwin B. Frost, then director of Yerkes Observatory, and Mary R. Calvert.

Comet discoveries

Between 1881 and 1892, he discovered 15 comets, three of which were periodic, and co-discovered two others:

  • C/1881 did not announce
  • C/1881 S1
  • C/1882 R2
  • D/1884 O1 (Barnard 1)
  • C/1885 N1
  • C/1885 X2
  • C/1886 T1 Barnard-Hartwig
  • C/1887 B3
  • C/1887 D1
  • C/1887 J1
  • C/1888 U1
  • C/1888 R1
  • C/1889 G1
  • 177P/Barnard (P/1889 M1, P/2006 M3, Barnard 2)
  • C/1891 F1 Barnard-Denning
  • C/1891 T1
  • D/1892 T1 (Barnard 3) – First comet to be discovered by photography; recovered in late 2008 as 206P/Barnard-Boattini



Named after him

See also


  1. ^ Hockey, Thomas (2009). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. Springer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-387-31022-0. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
  2. ^ Frost, E. B., "Edward Emerson Barnard" The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 58, p. 1 – 1923ApJ....58....1F
  3. ^ Carey, Bill (2001-10-29). "Astronomer Barnard was among Vanderbilt's first academic superstars". The Vanderbilt Register. Archived from the original on 2007-02-11. Retrieved 2007-06-27.
  4. ^ Osterbrock, Donald E., The Rise and Fall of Edward S. Holden – Part One, JOURN. HISTORY OF ASTRONOMY V.15:2, No. 43, p. 81 at 95–98, 1984
  5. ^ Ley, Willy (April 1961). "The Puzzle Called Gegenschein". For Your Information. Galaxy Science Fiction. pp. 74–84.
  6. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved May 17, 2011.
  7. ^ "Edward Emerson Barnard". The Bruce Medalists. Sonoma State University Department of Physics & Astronomy. Retrieved 2017-11-06.

Further reading

  • Sheehan, William (1995). The Immortal Fire Within: The Life and Work of Edward Emerson Barnard. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

External links


16P/Brooks, also known as Brooks 2, is a periodic comet discovered by William Robert Brooks on July 7, 1889, but failed to note any motion. He was able to confirm the discovery the next morning, having seen that the comet had moved north. On August 1, 1889, the famous comet hunter Edward Emerson Barnard discovered two fragments of the comet labeled "B" and "C" located 1 and 4.5 arc minutes away. On August 2, he found another four or five, but these were no longer visible the next day. On August 4, he observed two more objects, labeled "D" and "E". "E" disappeared by the next night and "D" was gone by the next week. Around mid-month, "B" grew large and faint, finally disappearing at the beginning of September. "C" managed to survive until mid-November 1889. No new nuclei were discovered before the apparition ended on January 13, 1891.

The breakup is believed to have been caused by the passage of the comet within Jupiter's Roche limit in 1886, when it spent two days within the orbit of Io. After the discovery apparition, the comet has always been over two magnitudes fainter and no fragments have been seen since 1889.

On 31 December 2016 the comet will pass 0.333 AU from Jupiter then on 3 July 2053 pass 0.247 AU (37,000,000 km; 23,000,000 mi) from Jupiter.


Comet 177P/Barnard, also known as Barnard 2, is a periodic comet with an orbital period of 119 years. It fits the classical definition of a Halley-type comet with (20 years < period < 200 years).The comet, also designated P/2006 M3, was discovered by Edward Emerson Barnard on June 24, 1889, and was re-discovered after 116 years. On July 19, 2006, 177P came within 0.36 AU of the Earth. From late July through September 2006 it was brighter than expected at 8th magnitude in the constellations Hercules and then Draco. Perihelion was August 28, 2006.

Of Barnard's other two periodic comets, the first, D/1884 O1 (Barnard 1) was last seen on November 20, 1884, and is thought to have disintegrated. The last, 206P/Barnard-Boattini marked the beginning of a new era in cometary astronomy, as it was the first to be discovered by photography. It was a lost comet after 1892, until accidentally rediscovered on October 7, 2008, by Andrea Boattini.


206P/Barnard–Boattini was the first comet to be discovered by photographic means. The American astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard did so on the night of October 13, 1892.

After this apparition this comet was lost and was thus designated D/1892 T1.

Ľuboš Neslušan (Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences) suggests that 14P/Wolf and this comet are siblings which stem from a common parent comet.This comet was rediscovered on October 7, 2008 by Andrea Boattini in the course of the Mt. Lemmon Survey. It was initially credited to Boattini before it was identified as Comet Barnard 3. The comet passed 0.1904 AU (28,480,000 km; 17,700,000 mi) from Earth on October 21, 2008. The comet has made 20 revolutions since 1892 and passed within 0.3–0.4 AU of Jupiter in 1922, 1934 and 2005.It was not seen during the 2014 perihelion passage because when the faint comet was at the brightest it was only 75 degrees from the Sun. It has not been seen since January 2009. The comet passed 0.1303 AU (19,490,000 km; 12,110,000 mi) from Jupiter on July 9, 2017.The comet has an Earth-MOID of 0.018 AU (2,700,000 km; 1,700,000 mi).

Amalthea (moon)

Amalthea ( am-əl-THEE-ə; Greek: Ἀμάλθεια) is the third moon of Jupiter in order of distance from the planet. It was discovered on 9 September 1892, by Edward Emerson Barnard and named after Amalthea, a nymph in Greek mythology. It is also known as Jupiter V.

Amalthea is in a close orbit around Jupiter and is within the outer edge of the Amalthea Gossamer Ring, which is formed from dust ejected from its surface. From its surface, Jupiter would appear 46.5 degrees in diameter. Amalthea is the largest of the inner satellites of Jupiter. Irregularly shaped and reddish in color, it is thought to consist of porous water ice with unknown amounts of other materials. Its surface features include large craters and ridges.Amalthea was photographed in 1979 by the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft, and later, in more detail, by the Galileo orbiter in the 1990s.

Barnard's Loop

Barnard's Loop (catalogue designation Sh 2-276) is an emission nebula in the constellation of Orion. It is part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex which also contains the dark Horsehead and bright Orion nebulae. The loop takes the form of a large arc centered approximately on the Orion Nebula. The stars within the Orion Nebula are believed to be responsible for ionizing the loop.

The loop extends over about 600 arcminutes as seen from Earth, covering much of Orion. It is well seen in long-exposure photographs, although observers under very dark skies may be able to see it with the naked eye.

Recent estimates place it at a distance of either 159 pc (518 light years) or 440 pc (1434 ly) giving it dimensions of either about 100 or 300 ly across respectively. It is thought to have originated in a supernova explosion about 2 million years ago, which may have also created several known runaway stars, including AE Aurigae, Mu Columbae and 53 Arietis, which are believed to have been part of a multiple star system in which one component exploded as a supernova.Although this faint nebula was certainly observed by earlier astronomers, it is named after the pioneering astrophotographer E. E. Barnard who photographed it and published a description in 1894.

Barnard's Star

Barnard's Star is a very-low-mass red dwarf about 6 light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Ophiuchus. It is the fourth nearest known individual star to the Sun (after the three components of the Alpha Centauri system) and the closest star in the Northern Celestial Hemisphere. Despite its proximity, the star has a dim apparent magnitude of +9.5 and is invisible to the unaided eye; it is much brighter in the infrared than in visible light.

The star is named after the American astronomer E. E. Barnard. He was not the first to observe the star (it appeared on Harvard University plates in 1888 and 1890), but in 1916 he measured its proper motion as 10.3 arcseconds per year relative to the Sun, the highest known for any star.Barnard's Star is among the most studied red dwarfs because of its proximity and favorable location for observation near the celestial equator. Historically, research on Barnard's Star has focused on measuring its stellar characteristics, its astrometry, and also refining the limits of possible extrasolar planets. Although Barnard's Star is an ancient star, it still experiences star flare events, one being observed in 1998.

From the early 1960s to the early 1970s, Peter van de Kamp argued that there were one or more gas giants in orbit around it. His specific claims of large gas giants were refuted in the mid-1970s after much debate.

In November 2018 a candidate super-Earth planetary companion known as Barnard's Star b was reported to orbit Barnard's Star. It is believed to have 3.2 M⊕ (Earth masses) and orbit at 0.4 au.

Barnard (Martian crater)

Barnard is a crater on Mars named after American astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard.

Barnard 68

Barnard 68 is a molecular cloud, dark absorption nebula or Bok globule, towards the southern constellation Ophiuchus and well within our own galaxy at a distance of about 400 light-years, so close that not a single star can be seen between it and the Sun. American astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard added this nebula to his catalog of dark nebulae in 1919. His catalog was published in 1927, at which stage it included some 350 objects. Because of its opacity, its interior is extremely cold, its temperature being about 16 K (−257 °C). Its mass is about twice that of the Sun and it measures about half a light-year across.

Barnard Astronomical Society

The Barnard Astronomical Society is an amateur astronomical society based in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The Society was formed on November 15, 1923, at a meeting led by University of Chattanooga Professor Burleigh S. Annis at the Chattanooga YMCA. The society's name came from the recently deceased, distinguished Tennessee astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard.

Barnard Catalogue

The astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard compiled a list of dark nebulae known as the Barnard Catalogue of Dark Markings in the Sky, or the Barnard Catalogue for short. The nebulae listed by Barnard have become known as Barnard objects. A 1919 version of the catalogue listed 182 nebulae; by the time of the 1927 version, it listed 369.

Edward Barnard

Edward Barnard may refer to:

Edward Barnard (provost) (1717–1781), provost of Eton

Edward Emerson Barnard (1857–1923), American astronomer

Edward Barnard (politician) (c. 1806–1885), Canadian politician

Edward George Barnard (died 1851), British Liberal Party politician, Member of Parliament for Greenwich 1832–1851

Edward William Barnard (1791–1828), British scholar

Edward Chester Barnard (1863–1921), American topographer


Gegenschein (German pronunciation: [ˈɡeːɡənʃaɪn] German for "countershine") is a faintly bright spot in the night sky, around the antisolar point. The backscatter of sunlight by interplanetary dust causes this optical phenomenon.

IC 1459

IC 1459 (also catalogued as IC 5265) is an elliptical galaxy located in the constellation Grus. It is located at a distance of circa 85 million light years from Earth, which, given its apparent dimensions, means that IC 1459 is about 130,000 light years across. It was discovered by Edward Emerson Barnard in 1892.

Mary R. Calvert

Mary Ross Calvert (June 20, 1884 – June 25, 1974) was an American astronomical computer and astrophotographer.

In 1905, she started work at Yerkes Observatory, as assistant and computer for her uncle, the astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard (1857–1923), who was also professor of astronomy at the University of Chicago, and the discoverer of Barnard's star.

In 1923, when Barnard died, she became curator of the Yerkes photographic plate collection and a high-level assistant, until her retirement in 1946.

Barnard’s work A Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way was completed after his death in 1923 by Edwin B. Frost, director of the Yerkes Observatory, and Calvert, and published in two volumes in 1927. Only 700 copies were printed, making the original edition a collector's item. The Astronomy Compendium calls it a "seminal work".She died in Nashville in 1974.

NGC 1255

NGC 1255 is a barred spiral galaxy approximately 69 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Fornax.

NGC 1435

The Merope Nebula (also known as Tempel's Nebula and NGC 1435) is a diffuse reflection nebula in the Pleiades star cluster, surrounding the 4th magnitude star Merope. It was discovered on October 19, 1859 by the German astronomer Wilhelm Tempel. John Herschel, in his New General Catalogue (NGC), described it as a very faint nebula about the size of the full moon.

The Merope Nebula has an apparent magnitude starting at 13 and quickly dimming by a factor of about 15, making most of the nebula dimmer than magnitude 16. It is illuminated entirely by the star Merope, which is embedded in the nebula. It contains a bright knot, IC 349, about half an arcminute wide near Merope. It appears blue in photographs because of the fine carbon dust spread throughout the cloud. Though it was once thought the Pleiades formed from this and surrounding nebulae, it is now known that the Pleiades nebulosity is caused by a chance encounter with the cloud.

A small and unique nebula which is close to Merope was discovered by Edward Emerson Barnard in November 1890. It is naturally very bright but is almost hidden in the radiance of Merope.

NGC 1721

NGC 1721 is a lenticular galaxy (S0) located in the constellation Eridanus. It was discovered on the 10th of Nov 1885 by Edward Emerson Barnard. This galaxy is a member of the NGC 1723 Group—consisting of NCG 1723 (the brightest member, 11.7-mag) and a close triplet of NGC 1721, NGC 1725 and NGC 1728.NGC 1721 is a Dreyer Object (a now archaic astronomical term), meaning that it was included in the original New General Catalogue by JLE Dreyer.

NGC 447

NGC 447 is a spiral galaxy of type (R)SB(rs)0/a located in the constellation Pisces. It was first discovered on October 8, 1861 by Heinrich d'Arrest (and later listed as NGC 447); it was also seen in the 1890s by Edward Emerson Barnard (and later listed as IC 1656). It was described by Dreyer as "faint, pretty large, brighter middle, 11th magnitude star to northeast."

Sagittarius Star Cloud

The Sagittarius Star Cloud (also known as Messier 24 and IC 4715) is a star cloud in the constellation of Sagittarius, approximately 600 light years wide, which was discovered by Charles Messier in 1764. It is sometimes known as the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud to distinguish it from the Great Sagittarius Star Cloud located to the north of Gamma Sagittarii and Delta Sagittarii.The stars, clusters and other objects comprising M24 are part of the Sagittarius or Sagittarius-Carina arms of the Milky Way galaxy. Messier described M24 as a "large nebulosity containing many stars" and gave its dimensions as being some 1.5° across. Some sources, improperly, identify M24 as the faint cluster NGC 6603. The location of the Sagittarius Star Cloud is near the Omega Nebula (also known as M17) and open cluster Messier 18, north of M24. M24 is one of only three Messier objects that are not deep sky objects.M24 fills a space of significant volume to a depth of 10,000 to 16,000 light-years. This is the most dense concentration of individual stars visible using binoculars, with around 1,000 stars visible within a single field of view. The star cloud can be seen visible when the Milky Way itself is visible as well. Without the dust and gas that conceals the Milky Way, M24 holds a collection of numerous kinds of stars that are placed along the Milky Way and through the galaxy's obscuring band of interstellar dust.HD 167356 is the brightest star that is located within the Sagittarius Star Cloud, a white supergiant with an apparent magnitude of 6.05. This star is an Alpha-2 Canum Venaticorum variable, showing small changes in brightness as it rotates. There are three other stars located in M24 with visual magnitudes between 6.5 and 7.0.The star cloud incorporates two prominent dark nebulae which are vast clouds of dense, obscuring interstellar dust. This dust blocks light from the more distant stars, which keeps them from being seen from Earth. Lying on the northwestern side is Barnard 92, which is the darkest out of the two. Inside the field filled with stars, the nebula appears as an immense round hole that is devoid of any stars. American astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard discovered this dark nebula in 1913. Along the northeast side contains Barnard 93, which is less obvious and large as the other dark nebula. There are also other dark nebulae within M24, including Barnard 304 and Barnard 307. Both Barnard 92 and 93 have the most significant features shown in M24 due to them both blocking out several stars and being the most visually prominent.The Sagittarius Star Cloud also holds two planetary nebulae, M 1-43 and NGC 6567. Located within a spiral arm of the Milky Way, Messier 24 holds some similarities with NGC 206, a bright, large star cloud.

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