John Russell Hind bigraphy, stories - English astronomer

John Russell Hind : biography

May 12, 1823 - December 23, 1895

John Russell Hind FRS (May 12, 1823 – December 23, 1895) was an English astronomer.

Life and work

John Russell Hind was born in 1823 in Nottingham, the son of lace manufacturer John Hind, and was educated at Nottingham High School. At age 17 he went to London to serve an apprenticeship as a civil engineer, but through the help of Charles Wheatstone he left engineering to accept a position at the Royal Greenwich Observatory under George Biddell Airy. Hind remained there from 1840 to 1844, at which time he succeeded W. R. Dawes as director of the private observatory of George Bishop. In 1853 Hind became Superintendent of the Nautical Almanac, a position he held until 1891.

Hind is notable for being one of the early discoverers of asteroids. He also discovered and observed the variable stars R Leporis (also known as Hind's Crimson Star), U Geminorum, and T Tauri (also called Hind's Variable Nebula), and discovered the variability of μ Cephei. Hind discovered Nova Ophiuchi 1848 (V841 Ophiuchi), the first nova of modern times (since the supernova SN 1604).

Hind's naming of the asteroid 12 Victoria caused some controversy. At the time, asteroids were not supposed to be named after living persons. Hind somewhat disingenuously claimed that the name was not a reference to Queen Victoria, but the mythological figure Victoria.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in June, 1863 and President of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1880.

He died in 1895 in Twickenham, London. Hind had married Fanny Fuller in 1846; he and his wife had six children.

Asteroids discovered: 10
7 Iris August 13, 1847
8 Flora October 18, 1847
12 Victoria September 13, 1850
14 Irene May 19, 1851
18 Melpomene June 24, 1852
19 Fortuna August 22, 1852
22 Kalliope November 16, 1852
23 Thalia December 15, 1852
27 Euterpe November 8, 1853
30 Urania July 22, 1854


Some sources give his name as John Russel Hind with only one "L". However, civil records and 19th century British astronomical magazines consistently spell his name with two "L"s.

Honours and legacy

  • Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1853)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society (1863)
  • The crater Hind on the Moon
  • Asteroid 1897 Hind
  • Comets C/1847 C1 (Hind) and C/1846 O1 (de Vico-Hind).
Living octopus

Living octopus

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