Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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PETERS, Christian Henry Frederick, astronomer, born in Coldenbiittel, Schleswig, 19 September, 1813. He was educated at the University of Berlin, where in 1836 he received the degree of Ph. D., and then continued his professional studies in Copenhagen. In 1838 he accompanied Baron Sartorius yon Walthershausen to Sicily, where, until 1843, he was engaged on the survey of Mount Etna. The published results of this work are said to afford the most exhaustive description that has been given of any mountain. On the completion of this survey, Dr. Peters was engaged in Naples, for several years, in the geodetic survey of that kingdom, but at the close of the revolution of i.848 he left Italy and went to Turkey, devoting himself to the pursuit of his chosen science. In 1853, on the recommendation of George P. Marsh, he came to the United States with letters from eminent scientists, which procured for him a place on the United States coast survey. At first he was stationed at the Cambridge observatory, and later at the Dudley observatory in Albany. In 1858 he was called to Hamilton college as the first director of the Litchfield observatory, and in 1867 he was made professor of astronomy in addition to his directorship. His scientific work has included observations on comets and solar spots, many of which are as yet unpublished. In his study of the sky for the mapping of the stars he has been the first discoverer of forty-seven asteroids. Under the auspices of the regents of the University of the state of New York he has determined the longitude of several places in the state of New York, including the western boundary-line. He had charge of one of the parties sent out to Des Moines, Iowa, to observe the solar eclipse of 7 August, 1869, and also led the government expedition that was sent to New Zealand to observe the transit of Venus, 9 December, 1874, and on that occasion he was the most successful of all the observers at that station, securing 237 photographs of the transit. Dr. Peters is a member of scientific societies, and in 1876 was elected to the National academy of sciences. In 1887 he received the decoration of the cross of the Legion of honor from the French government. Besides articles in various scientific journals, he published in 1882 a first series, twenty in number, of his "Celestial Charts," which give an accurate picture of the parts of the sky that they depict, and which will serve hereafter as a sure basis for studying changes in the heavens. A second series has been completed, and is now (1888) ready for the press.
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