Johann Elert Bode


Johann Elert Bode : biography

19 January 1747 – 23 November 1826
 There were further alternatives proposed, but ultimately Bode's suggestion became the most widely used - however it had to wait until 1850 before gaining official acceptance in Britain when the Nautical Almanac Office switched from using the name Georgium Sidus to Uranus. 

In 1789, Bode’s Royal Academy colleague Martin Klaproth was inspired by Bode’s name for the planet to name his newly discovered element "uranium".[37]

From 1787 to 1825 Bode was director of the Astronomisches Rechen-Institut. In 1794, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In April, 1789 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society.

Bode died in Berlin on 23 November 1826, aged 79.


Selected writings

Section of a plate from Uranographia showing the constellation Orion

  • 1768 (10th ed. 1844) Anleitung zur Kentniss des Gestirnten Himmels (The most famous of Bode’s writings. In this work, he first announced Bode’s law.)
  • 1774-1957 Berliner Astronomisches Jahrbuch für 1776-1959 (The astronomical yearbook published by Berlin Observatory.)
  • 1776 Sammlung astronomischer Tafeln (3 vols.)
  • 1776 (3rd ed. 1808) Erläuterung der Sternkunde, an introductory book on the constellations and their tales, which was reprinted more than ten times
  • 1782 Vorstellung der Gestirne … des Flamsteadschen Himmelsatlas (Bode’s revised and enlarged edition of Fortin’s small star atlas of Flamsteed.)
Verzeichniss (Containing the above star atlas, and including 5,058 stars observed by Flamsteed, Hevelius, T. Mayer, de la Caille, Messier, le Monnier, Darquier and Bode himself.)
  • 1801 Uranographia sive Astrorum Descriptio (A large star atlas illustrated with twenty copper plates.)
Allgemeine Beschreibung und Nachweisung der Gestirne (A star catalogue listing 17,240 stars.)

His works were highly effective in diffusing throughout Germany a taste for astronomy.