Edward Charles Pickering
Overview
 
Edward Charles Pickering (July 19, 1846–February 3, 1919) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 astronomer
Astronomer
An astronomer is a scientist who studies celestial bodies such as planets, stars and galaxies.Historically, astronomy was more concerned with the classification and description of phenomena in the sky, while astrophysics attempted to explain these phenomena and the differences between them using...

 and physicist
Physicist
A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

, brother of William Henry Pickering
William Henry Pickering
William Henry Pickering was an American astronomer, brother of Edward Charles Pickering. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1883.-Work:...

.

Along with Carl Vogel
Hermann Carl Vogel
Hermann Carl Vogel was a German astronomer. He was born in Leipzig, Kingdom of Saxony.Vogel pioneered the use of the spectroscope in astronomy...

, Pickering discovered the first spectroscopic binary stars. He wrote Elements of Physical Manipulations (2 vol., 1873–76).

Pickering attended Boston Latin School
Boston Latin School
The Boston Latin School is a public exam school founded on April 23, 1635, in Boston, Massachusetts. It is both the first public school and oldest existing school in the United States....

, and received his B.S. from Harvard in 1865. Later, he served as director of Harvard College Observatory
Harvard College Observatory
The Harvard College Observatory is an institution managing a complex of buildings and multiple instruments used for astronomical research by the Harvard University Department of Astronomy. It is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and was founded in 1839...

 from 1877 to his death in 1919, where he made great leaps forward in the gathering of stellar spectra through the use of photography.

At Harvard, he recruited many women to work for him, including Annie Jump Cannon
Annie Jump Cannon
Annie Jump Cannon was an American astronomer whose cataloging work was instrumental in the development of contemporary stellar classification. With Edward C...

, Henrietta Swan Leavitt
Henrietta Swan Leavitt
Henrietta Swan Leavitt was an American astronomer. A graduate of Radcliffe College, Leavitt went to work in 1893 at the Harvard College Observatory in a menial capacity as a "computer", assigned to count images on photographic plates...

, and Antonia Maury
Antonia Maury
Antonia Caetana de Paiva Pereira Maury was an American astronomer who published an important early catalog of stellar spectra.-Early life:Antonia Maury was born in Cold Spring, New York...

.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Edward Charles Pickering (July 19, 1846–February 3, 1919) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 astronomer
Astronomer
An astronomer is a scientist who studies celestial bodies such as planets, stars and galaxies.Historically, astronomy was more concerned with the classification and description of phenomena in the sky, while astrophysics attempted to explain these phenomena and the differences between them using...

 and physicist
Physicist
A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

, brother of William Henry Pickering
William Henry Pickering
William Henry Pickering was an American astronomer, brother of Edward Charles Pickering. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1883.-Work:...

.

Along with Carl Vogel
Hermann Carl Vogel
Hermann Carl Vogel was a German astronomer. He was born in Leipzig, Kingdom of Saxony.Vogel pioneered the use of the spectroscope in astronomy...

, Pickering discovered the first spectroscopic binary stars. He wrote Elements of Physical Manipulations (2 vol., 1873–76).

Pickering attended Boston Latin School
Boston Latin School
The Boston Latin School is a public exam school founded on April 23, 1635, in Boston, Massachusetts. It is both the first public school and oldest existing school in the United States....

, and received his B.S. from Harvard in 1865. Later, he served as director of Harvard College Observatory
Harvard College Observatory
The Harvard College Observatory is an institution managing a complex of buildings and multiple instruments used for astronomical research by the Harvard University Department of Astronomy. It is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, and was founded in 1839...

 from 1877 to his death in 1919, where he made great leaps forward in the gathering of stellar spectra through the use of photography.

At Harvard, he recruited many women to work for him, including Annie Jump Cannon
Annie Jump Cannon
Annie Jump Cannon was an American astronomer whose cataloging work was instrumental in the development of contemporary stellar classification. With Edward C...

, Henrietta Swan Leavitt
Henrietta Swan Leavitt
Henrietta Swan Leavitt was an American astronomer. A graduate of Radcliffe College, Leavitt went to work in 1893 at the Harvard College Observatory in a menial capacity as a "computer", assigned to count images on photographic plates...

, and Antonia Maury
Antonia Maury
Antonia Caetana de Paiva Pereira Maury was an American astronomer who published an important early catalog of stellar spectra.-Early life:Antonia Maury was born in Cold Spring, New York...

. These women, who came to be known as "Pickering's Harem" by the scientific community, made several important discoveries at HCO. Leavitt's discovery of the period-luminosity relationship for Cepheids, published by Pickering, would prove the foundation for the modern understanding of cosmological distances.
In 1876 he co-founded the Appalachian Mountain Club
Appalachian Mountain Club
The Appalachian Mountain Club is one of the United States' oldest outdoor groups. Created in 1876 to explore and preserve the White Mountains in New Hampshire, it has expanded throughout the northeastern U.S., with 12 chapters stretching from Maine to Washington, D.C...

.

In 1911 he co-founded the American Association of Variable Star Observers
American Association of Variable Star Observers
Since its founding in 1911, the American Association of Variable Star Observers has coordinated, collected, evaluated, analyzed, published, and archived variable star observations made largely by amateur astronomers and makes the records available to professional astronomers, researchers, and...

 (AAVSO) with William T. Olcott
William Tyler Olcott
William Tyler Olcott was an American lawyer and amateur astronomer.In 1909, after attending a lecture by Edward Charles Pickering, he developed an interest in observing variable stars. In 1911, he and professor Pickering...

.

Honors

Awards and honors
  • Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

     in 1867.
  • Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society
    Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society
    -History:In the early years, more than one medal was often awarded in a year, but by 1833 only one medal was being awarded per year. This caused a problem when Neptune was discovered in 1846, because many felt an award should jointly be made to John Couch Adams and Urbain Le Verrier...

     (1886 and 1901)
  • Henry Draper Medal
    Henry Draper Medal
    The Henry Draper Medal is awarded by the United States National Academy of Sciences "for investigations in astronomical physics". Named after Henry Draper, the medal is awarded with a gift of USD $15,000...

     from the National Academy of Sciences
    United States National Academy of Sciences
    The National Academy of Sciences is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as "advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine." As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and...

     (1888)
  • Bruce Medal
    Bruce Medal
    The Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal is awarded every year by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for outstanding lifetime contributions to astronomy. It is named after Catherine Wolfe Bruce, an American patroness of astronomy, and was first awarded in 1898...

     (1908)

Named after him
  • The crater Pickering
    Pickering (lunar crater)
    Pickering is a small lunar impact crater located to the northeast of the worn walled plain Hipparchus in the central region of the Moon. It lies to the northeast of the crater Horrocks, which lies within Hipparchus. To the southeast is the lava-flooded Saunder....

     on the Moon
    Moon
    The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

  • The crater Pickering Mars.
  • Asteroid
    Asteroid
    Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

     784 Pickeringia
    784 Pickeringia
    -External links:*...


(all jointly named after him and his brother William Henry Pickering
William Henry Pickering
William Henry Pickering was an American astronomer, brother of Edward Charles Pickering. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1883.-Work:...

)

Obituaries

AN 208 (1919) 133/134
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