The Writing Desk Planet

  • Govert Schilling


Elaine Mac-Auliffe had no idea that what she held in her hands was the history of the discovery of the planet Neptune. It was October 1998 and, together with her colleague Nicholas Suntzeff, she was searching the house of Olin Jeuck Eggen, a staff astronomer at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, where Mac-Auliffe was an executive secretary. In a hall cupboard near the bedroom, Elaine and Nicholas found a couple of cardboard boxes containing old books, letters, and files which, according to the catalogue stamp on the title pages, were the property of the Royal Greenwich Observatory in England. One of the bound piles of paper was entitled Papers relating to the Discovery, Observations and Elements of Astrea, Neptune, Hebe, Iris, Flora. Colors of Astrea, Neptune. When Greenwich archivist Adam Perkins received an email from Mac-Auliffe about the unexpected find, he jumped for joy. The Neptune File had finally been found.


Royal Greenwich Observatory Orbital Deviation Executive Secretary Unsolved Mystery French Colleague 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AmersfoortNetherlands

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