Edward Charles Pickering

Edward Charles Pickering (July 19, 1846 – February 3, 1919) was an American astronomer and physicist as well as the older brother of William Henry Pickering.Along with Carl Vogel, Pickering discovered the first spectroscopic binary stars. He wrote Elements of Physical Manipulations (2 vol., 1873–76).Pickering attended Boston Latin School, and received his B.S. from Harvard in 1865. Soon after graduating from Harvard, Pickering taught physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Later, he served as director of Harvard College Observatory from 1877 to his death in 1919, where he made great leaps forward in the gathering of stellar spectra through the use of photography.At Harvard, he recruited many women to work for him, including Annie Jump Cannon, Henrietta Swan Leavitt, and Antonia Maury. These women, who came to be known as "Pickering's Harem" by the scientific community, made several important discoveries at HCO. Leavitt's discovery of the period-luminosity relationship for Cepheids, published by Pickering, would prove the foundation for the modern understanding of cosmological distances.In 1876 he co-founded the Appalachian Mountain Club.In 1882, Pickering developed a method to photograph the spectra of multiple stars simultaneously by putting a large prism in front of the photographic plate.He also, along with Williamina Fleming designed a stellar classification system based on an alphabetic system for spectral classes that was first known as the Harvard Stellar Classification and became the basis for the Henry Draper Catalog.Pickering is credited for making the Harvard College Observatory known and respected around the world, and it continues today to be a well-respected observatory and program.Awards and honors:Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1867.Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1886 and 1901)Henry Draper Medal from the National Academy of Sciences (1888)Bruce Medal (1908)Named after him:The crater Pickering on the MoonThe crater Pickering Mars.Asteroid 784 Pickeringia(all jointly named after him and his brother William Henry Pickering)


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