James Craig Watson

James Craig Watson ( born January 28, 1838 in Fingal, Ontario / Canada, † November 23, 1880 in Madison, Wisconsin ) was an American astronomer.

Watson comes from the United States, but was born during a stay of his parents in Canada. In 1857 he graduated from the University of Michigan. As a student, he immersed himself in the sky mechanical works of Pierre Simon Laplace, polishing optical lenses and constructed a telescope. After graduation he received in Michigan as an assistant at the Department of Astronomy. Because of his extensive observations and calculations - among other things, he discovered a comet in 1856 and 1858, the specific orbit of the comet Donati - he was appointed in 1859 as professor of astronomy.

In 1863 he became director of the observatory. In the same year he discovered the asteroid (79 ) Eurynome. During 1867 and 1868 he managed the discovery of eight other asteroids, including the No. 100, the Paris dedicated a commemorative coin. Besides Watson shows John R. Hind and his two successors as multiple Discoverer: Goldschmidt (14 discoveries 1852-61 ) and Karl Theodor Robert Luther (24 from 1852-90 ).

1869/70 Watson took part in expeditions to observe solar eclipses on the Mount Pleasent, Iowa, and in Carlentini, Sicily. In 1874, he watched from Beijing the transit of Venus from the sun. In 1878 he took part in an expedition to observe a total eclipse of Wyoming from where he turned his attention to the discovery of a planet inside the orbit of Mercury. Watson was convinced that both an "Intra Mercury ", the planet Vulcan, and a Trans Neptune beyond the orbit of the planet Neptune existed. In the darkness of 1878, he discovered two reddish objects, which he regarded as an inner planet. However, this observation could not be confirmed. In 1879 he was appointed professor at the University of Wisconsin, where he took over the chair of astronomy. In the following years he devoted himself intensively to search for the hypothetical volcano, which does not exist according to current knowledge.

Watson discovered a total of 24 asteroids and published several works on astronomy. Because of his achievements, he received numerous honors were bestowed. In 1867 he was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences. In 1870, he received the Lalande Medal of the French Academy, as before him some asteroid explorer. In the same year he was awarded an honorary doctorate of the University of Leipzig. In honor of his astronomical activity of the asteroid ( 729 ) Watsonia is named after him.