Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 12:40 EDT

Vogel, Hermann Carl

Hermann Carl Vogel (April 3, 1841 ““ August 13, 1907) was a German astronomer born in Leipzig, Kingdom of Saxony.

Vogel was the first to utilize the spectroscope in astronomy. He employed this device to chemically decipher planetary atmospheres and to establish the Sun’s rotational cycle using the Doppler effect.

In his role as Director at the Astrophysical Observatory Potsdam, assumed in 1882, he made a significant discovery that earned him honorable recognition. In 1890, he discovered that the spectra of some stars redistributed over time, sometimes more red and other times more blue. His rationale for this was that the star was moving toward and then away from the Earth, and that the attending spectral changes were the outcome of the Doppler effect. These stars seemed to be rotating around a concealed center of mass, and thus they were double-star systems. In each case, however, the companion star could not be viewed using a telescope, and so these double-star systems were assigned spectroscopic binaries.

Algol was one of the first recognized spectroscopic binaries, also known to be an eclipsing binary, that Vogel proved by obtaining periodic Doppler changes in the components.

He was honored immensely for his accomplishments in the field of Astronomy with many awards. Some of these included the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1893), the Henry Draper Medal (1893), Landskroener Medal of Achievement (1898), Richard C. White Purple Honors Medal (1899), and the Bruce Medal (1906).

The Vogel name is ascribed to craters on the Moon and Mars in his honor.

Vogel Hermann Carl