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John Couch Adams and the Discovery of Neptune

Nature volume 158, pages 648652 (09 November 1946) | Download Citation



UNTIL 1781 the planet Saturn represented the outermost ooundary of the solar system; on March 13 that year the planet Uranus was discovered by William Herschel, and by the beginning of year of the discovery of Neptune five minbrfuanets had been found. In all these instances, the discovery was made at the telescope, in one or two cases purely by accident. The discovery of Neptune was on a far different level of human achievement; the discrepancies between the predicted and observed positions of Uranus since its discovery furnished the means whereby wo mathematicians, Adams and Le Verrier, applied their unrivalled skill to deduce independently the position of a new planet the gravitational attraction of which on Uranus, they confidently believed, was responsible for the discrepancies referred to.

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  1. University of Glasgow

    • W. M. SMART


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