Newcomb, Simon

Newcomb, Simon (1835-1909), a United States astronomer. He calculated the movements of the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Uranus, and Neptune more precisely than had been achieved previously. His tables of the motions of these and other bodies of the solar system, published in 1880, were adopted by astronomers through-out the world.

Newcomb was born in Wallace, Nova Scotia. He came to the United States in 1853 and graduated from Harvard in 1858. Newcomb was professor of mathematics in the U.S. Navy, 1861-97, rising to the rank of captain. From 1877 to 1897 he superintended the Nautical Almanac office, which published an annual handbook giving the predicted positions of celestial bodies. Newcomb was also a professor at Johns Hopkins University, 1884-94 and 1898-1900. He was elected to the Hall of Fame for Great Americans in 1935.