Hans Ludendorff
Friedrich Wilhelm Hans Ludendorff (Dunowo
Dunowo is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Świeszyno, within Koszalin County, West Pomeranian Voivodeship, in north-western Poland. It lies approximately west of Świeszyno, south-west of Koszalin, and north-east of the regional capital Szczecin.Before 1945 the area was part of...

, 26 May 1873 - Potsdam
Potsdam is the capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg and part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel, southwest of Berlin city centre....

, 26 June 1941) was a German
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

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 astrophysicist
Astrophysics is the branch of astronomy that deals with the physics of the universe, including the physical properties of celestial objects, as well as their interactions and behavior...

. He was the younger brother of General Erich Ludendorff
Erich Ludendorff
Erich Friedrich Wilhelm Ludendorff was a German general, victor of Liège and of the Battle of Tannenberg...


After studying Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy in Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, he started to work as assistant at the Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

An observatory is a location used for observing terrestrial or celestial events. Astronomy, climatology/meteorology, geology, oceanography and volcanology are examples of disciplines for which observatories have been constructed...

 in 1897. The following year he changed to the Astrophysical Observatory of Potsdam
Astrophysical Institute Potsdam
Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam is a German research institute. It is the successor of the Berlin Observatory founded in 1700 and of the Astrophysical Observatory Potsdam founded in 1874. The latter was the world's first observatory to emphasize explicitly the research area of...

, where became Observator (1905) and Chief Observator (1915). From 1921 until his retirement in 1938 he was Director of the Observatory. Between 1920 and 1930 he belonged to the Board of the Astronomical Society.

He authored several astronomical and astrophysical works (the first was about asteroids, following his graduation in 1896), but is better known for the Ludendorff Catalogue, that lists the most important stars in the globular cluster
Globular cluster
A globular cluster is a spherical collection of stars that orbits a galactic core as a satellite. Globular clusters are very tightly bound by gravity, which gives them their spherical shapes and relatively high stellar densities toward their centers. The name of this category of star cluster is...

 Messier 13
Messier 13
Messier 13 or M13 is a globular cluster of about 300,000 stars in the constellation of Hercules....

, published in 1905.

In 1908 he established the binary character of the star Mizar B
Mizar (star)
The Mizar–Alcor stellar sextuple system consists of the quadruple system Mizar and the binary system Alcor.- Description :Mizar is a quadruple system of two binary stars in the constellation Ursa Major and is the second star from the end of the Big Dipper's handle. Its apparent magnitude is 2.23...

 (period: 175.6 days), together with North American Astronomer Edwin Brant Frost
Edwin Brant Frost
-Biography:He was born in Brattleboro, Vermont. His father, Carlton Pennington Frost, was dean of Dartmouth Medical School.Frost graduated from Dartmouth in 1886. He continued his education as a post-graduate student in chemistry and in 1887 became an instructor in physics while only 21 years old...


He also authored several studies on the astronomy of Pre-Columbian civilizations
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...

, especially that of the Mayas
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...



  • Tafel zur Berechnung der Störungsfunction für die äussersten kleinen Planeten, (1896), Astronomische Nachrichten, volume 140, p.197.
  • Der grosse Sternhaufen im Herkules Messier 13, (1905), Publikationen des Astrophysikalischen Observatoriums zu Potsdam; 15. Bd, Nr. 50.
  • Notiz über den spektroskopischen Doppelstern gamma Geminorum (1912), Astronomische Nachrichten, volume 192, p.447.
  • Weitere Untersuchungen über die Massen der spektroskopischen Doppelsterne, (1920), Astronomische Nachrichten, volume 211, p.105.
  • Handbuch der Astrophysik (1928).
  • Zur Deutung des Dresdener Maya Kodex, Sitzungsberichten der Preussischen Ahademie der Wissenschaften, núm. 11, Berlín, 1937.
  • Versammlung der Astronomischen Gesellschaft, (1939), Astronomische Nachrichten, volume 268, p.163.
  • Die Astronomischen Inschriften der Maya, (1940), Festschrift für Elis Strömgren. Astronomical Papers. Copenhagen: Einar Munksgaard, 1940., p.143.


  • Smithsonian/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS): 84 of his published articles (in German or English).

External links

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