List F

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Fabricius, David (1564 - 1617)
Fabricius, Johannes (1587 - )
Fabry, Louis ()
Falb, R. (1838 - )
Fauth, Philipp J. H. (1867 - 1941)
Faye, Hervé August Etienne Albans (1814 - )
Fearnley, Carl Frederik (1818 - )
Fecker, Gottlieb L. ( 19th Century)
Fecker, J.W. ( - 1945)
Fedorov, A.P. (1872 - 1920)
Fehrenbach, Ch.
Ferguson, James (1710 - 1776)
Ferguson, James (1797 - 1868)
Fernel, Johann (1506 - 1558)
Finlay
Finsen, W. S.
Firmicus, Julius Maternus (4. Century)
Fitzeau, Armand Hippolyte Louis
Fixlmillner, Placidus ()
Flammarion, Camille (1842 - 1925)
Flamsteed [Flamstead], John (1646 - 1719)
Fleming, Williamina Paton
Flemming, Friedrich Wilhelm (1812 - 1840)
Fletcher, Isaak (1827 - 1879)
Fleury, Abbon de ( - 1004)
Foerster, Wilhelm (1832 - )
Folque, F. ()
Fontenelle, Bernard Le Bovier de (1657 - 1757)
Forbes
Foucault, Jean Bernhard Léon (1819 - 1868)
Fowler, Alfred ( - 1940)
Fowler, Ralph H. (1889 - 1944)
Frakastor, Hieronymus (1483 - 1553)
Franklin-Adams (1843 - 1912)
Franz, Julius H. (1847 - 1913)
Fraunhofer, Joseph von (1787 - 1826)
Freundlich, E. F. ()
Friedman, Herbert
Frost, Edwin ()
Frost, E.B. (1866 - 1935)
Fuß, Georg
Fuß, Viktor Friedrich [Victor Jegorovic] (1838(?) - 1915)

Fabricius, David (1564 - 1617)
D. Fabricius was born in Esens in 1564 and was a pastor. He noticed the variability of the star Mira in the constellation Cetus, the Whale. Together with his son Johannes he observed sunspots and made the first map of East Frisia. D. Fabricius died in Osteel near Aurich.

Fabricius, Johannes (1587 - )
J. Fabricius was born as the son of D. Fabricius in Osteel, East Frisia. He was physician and astronomer and rediscovered the sunspots. First he only observed during sunset and sunrise, later he used a darkened room to project a picture of the sun (camera obscura). Fabricius described the movement of the sunspots across the sun, their dissapearing and reappearance in his ‘Joh. Fabricii Phrysii de maculis in sole observatis etc.’.

The year of his death is unknown.

Fabry, Louis () BEA
Sources:
Nat 143 (1939) 548
Ciel et Terre 56 (1940) 36 with portrait

Falb, R. (1838 - )
R. Falb worked as astronomer in Vienna and published observations of comets and meteorites. He founded the magazine ‘Sirius’ and was ist editor for ten years until 1877.

Fauth, Philipp J. H. (1867 - 1941)
Munich, died 4 January 1941. Source: Himmelswelt 55 (1948).

Faye, Hervé August Etienne Albans (1814 - )
H. A. Faye was born in 1814 in St. Benoit-du-Sault and member of the Academy in Paris. He discovered a comet with a 7.5 year period that bears his name. Faye’s main work was concentrated on calculations on orbits and eclipses.

Fearnley, Carl Frederik (1818 - )
C. F. Fearnley was born in Frederikshald in Norvay in 1818. He was director of the Christiania observatory and observed planets, comets and the suns photosphere.

Fecker, Gottlieb L. ( 19th Century)

Fecker, J.W. ( - 1945)
 American telescope-maker, son of above {King}.

Fedorov, A.P. (1872 - 1920)

Fehrenbach, Ch.

Ferguson, James (1710 - 1776) BEA
J. Ferguson was born in Perth, Scotland, in 1710. He was astronomer and mechanic and wrote, beside other works, ‘Astronomy explained upon Sir Isaac Newtons principles’. He died in Edinburgh in 1776.

Ferguson, James (1797 - 1868) BEA
J. Ferguson was also born in Perth, Scotland, in 1797. He was a civil engineer and assisted in the U.S. Coastal Survey. He was astronomer at the Naval observatory in Washington, D.C., from 1848 until his death in 1868. J. Ferguson discovered three minor planets, including the first from America in September 1854, (31) Euphrosyne. Later he discovered (50) Virginia and (60) Echo.

J. Ferguson died in 1867  or 1868 , Minor Planet (1745) Ferguson is named in his honor.

Fernel, Johann (1506 - 1558)
J. Fernel was born in 1506 and measured the linear and angular distance between Paris and Amiens. He was able to calculate the circumference of the earth with these data. In Paris he published a description of a kind of astrolabe and a ‘Cosmotheoria’. Fernel died in Clermont in 1558.

Finlay

Finsen, W. S.

Firmicus, Julius Maternus (4. Century)
J. M. Firmicus was born in Sicily and wrote a ‘Astronomicon poëticon’, that was mainly of astrological content.

Fitzeau, Armand Hippolyte Louis

Fixlmillner, Placidus ()
Director of the observatory at Kremsmünster until 1791, teacher of T. Derfflinger

Flammarion, Camille (1842 - 1925)
C. Flammarion was born in Montigny-le-Roy, Dept. Haute Marne, in 1842. He was atronomer at the Paris observatory and published several works.

Flamsteed [Flamstead], John (1646 - 1719)
J. Flamsteed was born in Derby in 1646. He met Newton and Halley in London and was astronomer at Greenwich observatory. Between 1675 and 1719 he was the first to hold the title of Astronomer Royal, created by King Charles II. when the Royal Obseratory was founded. His main work was on the positions of stars, the ‘Atlas coelestis’ included 25 charts and was published in 1729. A later edition (1753) included 28 charts. Fortin published a smaller version in 1776.

J. Flamsteed died in Greenwich in 1719  or 1720

Fleming, Williamina Paton

Flemming, Friedrich Wilhelm (1812 - 1840)
Friedrich Wilhelm Flemming  was born on the 26. July 1812 in Danzig as the son of Wilhelm Ferdinand Flemming, a tailor, and his wife Regina, née Kraus. Flemming studied in Königsberg from 1835 on and later became assistant of Bessel. In 1840 he was promoted astronomer of the Scientific Society in Danzig, supported by Bessel.

He read two lectures to the Society and made only few observations. Only a few months after his promotion he died on typhoid fever on the 28. December 1840.

His work on the observations of Uranus made in Greenwich, Paris and Königsberg were published after his death in the AN 30 (1850). His brother Karl Gustav Flemming (1815 - 1857) was teacher and mathematician in Danzig, later in Tilsit.

Fletcher, Isaak (1827 - 1879)
Isaak Fletcher was born on the 22. February 1827 in Tarnbank, Cumbria, England. He was justice of the peace there and erected a private observatory in 1850. From 1849 on he was a member of the Astronomical Society and from 1855 on of the Royal Society in London.

Fletcher published some works in the Monthly Notices of the Astronomical Society including a paper on Saturn and its ring, a small star near Procyon and a description of an equatorial telescope mounting.

He committed suicide  on the 3. April 1879.

Fleury, Abbon de ( - 1004)
Abbon de Fleury was born in Orleans and wrote about the movement of the celestial bodies. Frightened by his knowledge farmers slayed him in 1004.

Foerster, Wilhelm (1832 - )
W. Foerster was born in Grüneberg in 1832. He was Professor of astronomy in Berlin and director of the observatory there.

Folque, F. ()
F. Folque was director of the Marine observatory in Lisboa. In the winter 1866-67 he made several observations together with F. de Mesquita of Mars to obtain a value for the solar parallax. He published the results in the AN, followed by observational notes on the solar eclipse of 1867.

Fontenelle, Bernard Le Bovier de (1657 - 1757)

Forbes

Foucault, Jean Bernhard Léon (1819 - 1868)
J. B. L. Foucault observed, that the plane of motion of a pendulum remains stable and does not follow the earths rotation. This proof for the rotation of our planet was duplicated many times and is still often on display in scientific exhibitions.

Fowler, Alfred ( - 1940)
London, died 24 June 1940.  Source: Himmelswelt 55 (1948).

Fowler, Ralph H. (1889 - 1944) BEA
Born 17 Jan 1889, died 28 Jul 1944
Sources:
MN 105 (1943-46) 80
Nat 154 (1946) 232

Frakastor, Hieronymus (1483 - 1553)
H. Frakastor was born in Verona in 1483 or 1488. He was physician and mathematician and had received his knowledge on astronomy from his fellow countrman J. B. Turrius. Frakastor assumed that the inclination of the ecliptic decreased with time. He died in Verona in 1553.

Franklin-Adams (1843 - 1912) BEA

born 5 August 1843, died 13 August 1912
Source:
MN 73 (1913) 210

Franz, Julius H. (1847 - 1913)

Fraunhofer, Joseph von (1787 - 1826)
Joseph Fraunhofer was born on the 6. March 1787 in Straubing as the eleventh and last child of Franz Xaver Fraunhofer, a glazier. Seven of his brothers and sisters died early, his mother, aged 54, when Joseph was 10. One year later his father died, aged 56.

Joseph was not sent to school regularly but had to help his father in the workshop. They were different times then, everyone had to help in the family; there was just no time and money to send the children to school. The Bavarian state had improved much on the educational system, but only in 1802 public schools with compulsory participation were introduced.

Franz Xaver Fraunhofer, Joseph’s father, was neither poor nor rich, when he died. He owned a house, located very conveniently in the center of the town. This 5 storey building, slightly changed over the years, is still existing.

Joseph started an apprenticeship with a wood turner, but changed to a glazier soon since he was not strong enough for the hard work. He began his work on the 23. August 1799 in the workshop of Weichselberger in Munich. There, in the capital of Bavaria, which was 50 times bigger than Joseph’s home town, life was even harder. A sister, already living in Munich, cared for his clothes.

Weichselberger was a strict master. Beside teaching him the business of a glazier he ordered Joseph to do every day’s housework, but that was usual those days. But worse was that Weichselberger forbade him to visit Sunday school and reading. Joseph Fraunhofer was eager to learn and tried to get books wherever he was.

The collapse of two houses on the 21. July 1801 changed Fraunhofer’s life forever. One of these houses was rented by Weichselberger: in the ruins died the master’s wife, but Joseph was found almost unhurt when he was rescued after 4 hours. On the scene of the disaster were two persons who would change the future of his life: Maximilian Joseph, later to be King Max I., and Joseph Utzschneider, a politician and entrepreneur. Just some weeks before this event Utzschneider had left his political posts to concentrate on his business: making fine instruments and optics.

It was through this event that Fraunhofer became known not only in the neighborhood, but also at other places. His master Weichselberger could no longer forbade him the visit to Sunday school, he went there for four years. Maximilian Joseph presented him some money and assured him of his fatherly protection. Fraunhofer kept the extra money for a while and later bought a glass cutting machine and a grinding machine with it. Utzschneider seems to have supported Fraunhofer with books and talks about optics and physics. The probability of earning better money with making spectacle lenses was well known to Fraunhofer.

Joseph Fraunhofer left the workshop of Weichselberger, who had moved to a different place in Munich (Kaufinger-Gasse), on the 30. April 1804. The certificate of apprenticeship gives October 1804 as the last month of Fraunhofer working there, but Fraunhofer redeemed himself from the 6 years contract. He went to work with Joseph Niggl, who had learned how to grind lenses in the convent at Rott. To earn some money Fraunhofer started to draw, engrave and print business cards. Unfortunately he did not earn enough to keep on with his studies, he returned to his former master Weichselberger as journeyman.

Utzschneider, who had met Fraunhofer first in the damaged house, sent him to meet a Benedictine monk named Ulrich Schiegg. This monk examined Fraunhofer for some days and recommended him to Utzschneider and Reichenbach. Fraunhofer left the glaziers workshop finally on 19. May 1806.

Georg Reichenbach and Joseph Utzschneider had founded a workshop in Munich in 1802 to produce geodetic instruments; good maps were rare these days and the State as well as the Army needed them. Reichenbach studied at the military academy in Mannheim, was sent to England to learn about James Watt’s steam engines, and returned to Mannheim in 1793. During his time in England he also learned about optical instruments from Ramsden, Dollond and others. Around 1800, while being with the Bavarian army in a camp at Cham, he thought about and developed a dividing machine to engrave circles with the highest precision. Later the astronomer Bessel found an average error of only 0.325 arc seconds on the instruments made by Reichenbach.

Reichenbach had some instruments on his shelves, almost ready to be sold. The only thing missing were the optics. It was Fraunhofer’s first task to grind and polish these when he joined the workshop. His assets were his craftsmanship, some books, probably some English telescopes and instruments made by Georg Friedrich Brandner (1713-1783) in Augsburg. The instruments with the first Fraunhofer optics went to the observatory at Ofen, near Budapest in Hungaria. Fraunhofer started to analyze every step in the making of a lens and introduced new techniques in grinding them. He developed a polishing machine that made the process more independent from the workers craftsmanship. Another area of work was the composition of the polishing material and the cement that was used to put the lenses together. And Fraunhofer introduced an absolutely plane sheet of glass as a test device to check for the shape and concentricity of the polished lens surface. With these new materials and methods Fraunhofer reached a much better surface quality within the first years.

The next change came at the end of 1807 when Utzschneider moved the whole business to Benediktbeuern where he had founded a glass melting workshop. This small glass factory should supply the raw material for the optics, glass of a higher quality than could be purchased on the market. During his calculations and tests for perfect optics Fraunhofer had found the glass to be a major variable in the process. It was there that Fraunhofer met the Swiss Pierre Louis Guinand.

Utzschneider had met Guinand in Neuchatel, Switzerland, during his travels, searching for sources of streak-free glass. In 1806 they agreed on a contract that brought Guinand to Benediktbeuern for 500 Guilders a year. His task was to make high quality crown and flint glass and he introduced a stirrer to the process. The quality of the glass was acceptable for lenses, but it still varied from batch to batch. In 1809 Utzschneider ordered Guinand to introduce Fraunhofer to the secrets of glass melting. He used the same scientific means as in figuring his lenses and changed the volume of the melting pots, searched for better raw materials like quartz, lime and potassium carbonate. He even developed new glass sorts, suited to make bigger and better optics.

From 1809 on Fraunhofer had responsibilities like an entrepreneur: he was made a companion of the firm and got one third of the profit, less 400 Guilders for company expenses, plus a 480 Guilders salary. In the same year Fraunhofer presented a production plan that required one instrument per day leaving the factory. Beside the small telescopes the company made microscopes, opera glasses, loupes and finally the big astronomical telescopes and heliometer.

Guinand left Benediktbeuern in 1814 and went back to Switzerland. It was Fraunhofer who had now the full responsibility for glass melting and calculating the lenses. It was the same year when Reichenbach left the firm and Utzschneider made Fraunhofer his partner. His salary had grown to 1500 Guilders, free lodging and heating in winter. A list describing 37 instruments and including prices offers a heliometer at 1430 Guilders, some ‘comet seekers’, astronomical telescopes, terrestial telescopes, loupes and prisms. A microscope with six objectives and two eyepieces is listed at 520 Guilders, smaller microscopes and a traveling microscope are mentioned. The biggest instruments are the astronomical refractors, starting at 18 centimeter (6.5 inch) diameter. The price is given as “... to be negotiated.” These telescopes required a lot of know-how and engineering, like streak-free glass and a springloaded lens mounting that kept the objective parts axially and radially in the designed position.

The ‘depth’ of the production was immense. Almost everything was made by the Utzschneider and Fraunhofer company. Brass and forgings were purchased, all other parts were made by employees in the workshop or at their homes. Nuts and bolts, clockworks, tripods, precision shafts, everything was made. The wooden tubes for the telescope were made by the carpenter Riesch. He used a big drill to make the holes in wooden shafts and glued the bigger tubes together from many thin sheets. Fraunhofer calculated, designed and tested every instrument, wrote the manuals and watched the disassembling and packaging process for the bigger telescopes.

In 1817 Utzschneider faced financial troubles. He had invested a lot of money in a weaving mill that could not sell enough of the fabrics to get his investments back. The additional break down of a bank forced Utzschneider to sell the former convent buildings in Benediktbeuern back to the state. The glass works, the carpenter and some minor workshops stayed there, the main part was transferred to Munich. This relocation delayed the completion of a major telescope: the big refractor for the Russian observatory in Dorpat.

The objective lens for this telescope was finished in 1819, the complete instrument was shipped in 22 crates in 1824 and arrived in Dorpat on the 10. November that year. Based on Fraunhofer’s description of the instrument, its individual parts, the probable errors that could be made during assembly and the handling of the complete instrument it was erected without any problems. Fraunhofer stayed in Munich. The complete instrument saw ‘First Light’ in the early hours of the 16. November. It was first located in a room that allowed a view of about 10 degrees on both sides of the meridian, it was moved to a domed tower 6 months later. With the telescope came four eyepieces for magnifications between 175 and 700 times, plus four micrometers of different kinds. Within the following three years the astronomer Struve observed and measured the distances of over 3000 double stars.

It was around 1813 when the glass works and the optics workshop still did fine, that Fraunhofer researched the different sorts of glass. He re-discovered the dark lines in the spectra. These lines had been seen before by Wollaston, but he did not pay them the same interest as Fraunhofer. 574 lines were described by him, to the stronger he assigned the letters A to Z, which are still used today. The drawing of the spectrum, which still exists, and the printing plate engraved by himself are masterpieces in their own right.

After this basic work he used his instruments on the light of electric sparks, different light sources and stars. Fraunhofer wrote down his findings and presented them to the bavarian Academy of Sciences on the 12. April 1817, which published it in the same year. Other works on the theory of light were published in the following years.

The ‘Civil Order of the Bavarian Crown’ elected Joseph Fraunhofer as a member and he was knighted on 15. August 1824. During the years in Munich Fraunhofer teached at the University of Bavaria. One of his pupils was Friedrich August Pauli, who also worked at the glassworks for six months. Fraunhofer offered his company to the Bavarian King in a letter dated 24. April 1826, mentioning Pauli as his only possible successor as a leader of the company.

Joseph von Fraunhofer died on the 7. June 1826 and was buried three days later at the Südfriedhof (southern cemetery) in Munich next to Reichenbach. The Munich firm kept on building telescopes and other instruments according to Fraunhofers plans, Utzschneider himself attended the glass melting pots until 1832. In 1839 he sold the firm to Merz, who had already hired Mahler. They now renamed the company “G. Merz & Mahler”.

Georg Merz died on the 12. January 1867 and left the business to his sons, Sigmund and Ludwig Merz.
Sigmund Merz turned over the business to his nephews Jakob and Matthias Merz in 1883.

Freundlich, E. F. ()
Until 1934 Head Observer at the astrophysical observatory in Potsdam went to St. Andrews-College, Scotland, as professor of astronomy.
Source: Himmelswelt 55 (1947)

Friedman, Herbert

Frost, Edwin () BEA

Frost, E.B. (1866 - 1935)

born 14 June 1866, died 14 May 1935
Sources:
Nat 135 (1935) 902
Nat 136 (1935) 211
AN 256 (1935) 19
Pop Astr 43 (1935) 394, 545 with portrait
VJS 71 (1936) 68
Nat. Acad. Sci. USA Bio. Mem. 19 -Second Memoir, p. 25, with portrait and bibliogr.

Fuß, Georg

Fuß, Viktor Friedrich [Victor Jegorovic] (1838(?) - 1915)
V. F. Fuß was the son of the director of the observatory in Wilna, Georg Fuß. After school he studied mathematics and astronomy in St. Petersburg between 1856 and 1859. From 1860 until 1861 he continued his studies in Riga, received a magister in St. Petersburg and worked at the Pulkowa observatory between 1862 and 1871. Then he was astronomer at the Marine observatory in Kronstadt where he retired in 1905 and went back to St. Petersburg.

He died there on the 13. April (31. March) 1915, aged 77.

Sources:
AN 201 (1915) 27
VJS 50 (1915) 1
 
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