Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Schmidt, Johann Friedrich Julius

Reference work entry

BornEutin, (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany), 26 October 1825

DiedAthens, Greece, 7 February 1884

German observer Julius Schmidt compiled the most complete maps of the Moon of his generation and reported changes in the appearance of one crater that were widely accepted at the time. In an era when study of the Moon had become increasingly specialized and knowledge of its topography so comprehensive that it led to the formation of a committee of British observers to further its mapping, Schmidt worked unaided and alone. It was plausibly suggested by Harvard College Observatory astronomer  William Pickering that Schmidt “perhaps devoted more of his life than any other man to the study of the Moon.”

Schmidt was the son of Carl Friedrich Schmidt, a glazier by profession, and Maria Elisabeth Quirling. At the age of 14, young Schmidt chanced upon a copy of  Johann Schröter’s Selenotopographische Fragmente. He was so fascinated by its pictures of mountains and craters that the future direction of...

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Selected References

  1. Ashbrook, Joseph (1984). “Julius Schmidt: An Incredible Visual Observer.” In The Astronomical Scrapbook, edited by Leif J. Robinson, pp. 251–258. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Sky Publishing Corp.Google Scholar
  2. Ball, Robert S. (1886). The Story of the Heavens. New York: Funk and Wagnalls.MATHGoogle Scholar
  3. Birmingham, John. “Schmidt’s Lunar Map.” Observatory 2 (1879): 413–415; 3 (1879): 10–17.Google Scholar
  4. Freiseleben, H.-Christ. (1975). “Schmidt, Johann Friedrich Julius.” In Dictionary of Scientific Biography, edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie. Vol. 12, p. 192. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  5. Sheehan, William and Thomas Dobbins (2001). Epic Moon: A History of Lunar Exploration in the Age of the Telescope. Richmond, Virginia: Willmann-Bell.Google Scholar
  6. Whitaker, Ewen A. (1999). Mapping and Naming the Moon: A History of Lunar Cartography and Nomenclature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lowell ObservatoryFlagstaffUSA
  2. 2.Fort MeyersFLUSA