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George Phillips Bond

Born: 20-May-1825
Birthplace: Dorchester, MA
Died: 17-Feb-1865
Location of death: Cambridge, MA
Cause of death: Tuberculosis

Gender: Male
Religion: Christian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Astronomer, Cartographer

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Father of astrophotography

George Phillips Bond succeeded his father as director of Harvard College Observatory. Working with his father, Bond discovered Hyperion, Saturn's eighth known satellite, leading to rejection of the theory, previously generally accepted, that Saturn's rings were of solid structure. Working alone with his camera and telescope, he took the first high-quality photos of the moon, stars and binary stars, and advanced the use of photography to gauge the magnitude of celestial bodies. As the Civil War raged the observatory lost virtually all its funding, and the facility could no longer be heated nor the leaking roof repaired, but Bond continued taking studious notes and photos of the skies even as his chronic tuberculosis worsened. He reportedly worked until mere hours before his death, stopping only when he could no longer hold a pen. He was awarded the Royal Astronomical Society's Gold Medal in 1865, but the medal did not arrive until several days after his death.

Also a cartographer, Bond surveyed and drew the first detailed maps of New Hampshire's White Mountains, where Mount Bond is named in his honor. His nephew, Edward Singleton Holden, was director of the Washburn Observatory at the University of Wisconsin from 1881-85, and director of Lick Observatory from 1888-97.

Father: William Cranch Bond (astronomer, b. 1789, d. 1859 heart attack)
Mother: Selina Cranch Bond (cousin of William Cranch Bond, b. 4-Apr-1798, m. 18-Jul-1819, d. 1831)
Mother: Mary Roope Cranch Bond (stepmother, b. 20-Jun-1787, m. 1832)
Brother: William Cranch Bond Jr. (astronomer, b. 1821, d. 1841)
Wife: Harriet Gardner Harris Bond (b. 2-Jan-1829, m. 27-Jan-1853, d. 12-Dec-1858, three daughters)
Daughter: Elizabeth Lyndstone Bond (b. 21-Oct-1853)
Daughter: Catherine Harris Bond (b. 2-Apr-1856)
Daughter: Harriet Denny Bond (b. 28-Sep-1857, d. 22-Feb-1858)

    University: BA, Harvard University (1845)
    University: MS, Harvard University (1853)
    Administrator: Assistant Director of Harvard College Observatory, Harvard University (1845-59)
    Administrator: Director, Harvard College Observatory, Harvard University (1859-65)

    Royal Astronomical Society Gold Medal 1865

Author of books:
Account of the Great Comet of 1858 (1862)
Observations upon the Great Nebula of Orion (1867)

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