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Asaph Hall

AKA Asaph Hall III

Born: 15-Oct-1829
Birthplace: Goshen, CT
Died: 22-Nov-1907
Location of death: Annapolis, MD
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Family Cemetery, Goshen, CT

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Astronomer

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Discovered the moons of Mars

Almost entirely self-taught, American astronomer Asaph Hall worked as a carpenter and school teacher but studied the stars, and became a celebrity scientist in his era. After writing several articles published in scientific journals, he found academic positions at Harvard and the US Naval Observatory. He published almost 500 papers, including studies of double stars, the mass of Mars, Mercury's perihelion, natural satellites, Saturn's rings, solar and stellar parallax, and the value of pi. He briefly attended New York Central College at McGrawville, then married his Professor of Geometry.

On 11 and 17 August 1877, using what was then the world's largest refracting telescope, he discovered the two Martian moons Phobos and Deimos (meaning literally, fear and terror), each about 18 miles in diameter. Hall received accolades from Nature and Scientific American, the Royal Astronomical Society's Gold Medal, and he was named the Naval Observatory's Professor of Mathematics by President Abraham Lincoln. He also traveled to Vladivostok, Russia in 1874 and San Antonio, Texas in 1882 to observe two transits of Venus. Though often asked, Hall refused to ever write a book.

Father: Asaph Hall II (clockmaker, b. 1800, d. 1842)
Mother: Hannah Palmer Hall (b. 1804, d. 1880)
Sister: Hannah H Hall Fox (b. 1831)
Sister: Adelaide Hall Kennon Lambertson (twin, b. 1833)
Sister: Adeline Hall Peterson (twin, b. 1833, d. 1898)
Brother: Lyman Hall (b. 1835)
Sister: Mary Chesebrough Hall Humphrey (b. 1837)
Wife: Chloe Angeline Stickney Hall (Professor of Geometry, b. 1830, m. 1856, d. 1892)
Son: Asaph Hall IV (astronomer, b. 1859, d. 1930)
Son: Samuel Stickney Hall (b. 1864)
Son: Angelo Hall (author, b. 1868, d. 1922)
Son: Percival Hall (President of Gallaudet University, b. 1872, d. 1953)
Wife: Mary Gauther Hall (m. 1901)

    High School: Norfolk Academy, Norfolk ,CT
    University: New York Central College at McGrawville (attended)
    University: University of Michigan (attended)

    French Legion of Honor 1896
    Royal Astronomical Society Gold Medal 1879
    American Association for the Advancement of Science President (1902-06)
    National Academy of Sciences 1875
    US Naval Observatory Superintendent (1861-1907)
    US Naval Observatory Professor of Mathematics (1864-1907)
    English Ancestry

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