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Johann Gottfried Galle
Johann Gottfried Galle
Born (1812-06-09)June 9, 1812
Radis, Germany
Died 10 July 1910(1910-07-10) (aged 98)
Potsdam, Germany
Nationality German
Alma mater University of Berlin
Known for Discovery of Neptune
Awards Lalande Prize (1839)
Scientific career
Fields astronomy
Institutions Berlin Observatory
University of Breslau
Johann Gottfried Galle Signature.svg

Johann Gottfried Galle (9 June 1812 – 10 July 1910) was a German astronomer from Radis, Germany, at the Berlin Observatory who, on 23 September 1846, with the assistance of student Heinrich Louis d'Arrest, was the first person to view the planet Neptune and know what he was looking at. Urbain Le Verrier had predicted the existence and position of Neptune, and sent the coordinates to Galle, asking him to verify. Galle found Neptune in the same night he received Le Verrier's letter, within 1° of the predicted position. The discovery of Neptune is widely regarded as a dramatic validation of celestial mechanics, and is one of the most remarkable moments of 19th-century science.

Later years

In 1897 Galle returned to Potsdam, where he died in 1910 at the age of 98. He was survived by his wife and two sons, Andreas Galle and Georg Galle (1860–1946).

The town of Gräfenhainichen, which is close to his birthplace, erected a memorial to him in 1977.

Two craters, one on the Moon and the "happy face" one on Mars, the asteroid 2097 Galle, and a ring of Neptune have been named in his honor.

Google celebrated Johann Gottfried Galle's 200th Birthday with Google Doodle

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