June 09 – Johann Gottfried Galle

Johann Gottfried Galle was born in the town of Radis, Germany, on June 9th, 1812. He was the first person to observe Neptune, knowing at the time that it was a planet. If you cast your mind back to a previous blog, you will recall that two men were on the hunt for Neptune simultaneously in the 1840s: English astronomer John Couch Adams , and Urban Le Verrier of France. It was Le Verrier who called on Galle with a prediction of the location of the new Trans-uranian planet while Couch’s guy was waiting for up to date charts to arrive.

While working at Berlin Observatory, Galle also discovered a new ring around Saturn and three comets.

Galle died at the grand old age of 98, on July 10th, 1910. He now has the innermost ring of Neptune named in his honour.

J G Galle
J G Galle