World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Hermann Carl Vogel

Hermann Carl Vogel
Hermann Carl Vogel
Born (1841-04-03)April 3, 1841
Leipzig, Kingdom of Saxony
Died August 13, 1907(1907-08-13) (aged 66)
Potsdam, German Empire
Nationality German
Fields Astronomy
Institutions Potsdam Observatory
Known for Astronomical spectroscopy
Notable awards Valz Prize (1890)
Henry Draper Medal (1893)
Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1893)
Bruce Medal (1906)

Hermann Carl Vogel (April 3, 1841 – August 13, 1907) was a German astrophysicist. He was born in Leipzig, Kingdom of Saxony. From 1882 to 1907 he was director of the Astrophysical Observatory, Potsdam. He made extensive discoveries using spectral analysis of the stars.


  • Life 1
  • Areas of work 2
  • Honors 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6


Vogel was born in 1841 in Leipzig. His father was director of the united Bürgerschulen and founder of the Realschule in Leipzig. His siblings included Eduard Vogel (1829–1856), Africa explorer and astronomer; Elise Polko (1823–1899), poet and singer and Julie Dohmke (1827–1913), writer, publisher, translator. In 1862, Vogel began his studies at the Polytechnikum in Dresden and in 1863 went to University of Leipzig. In Leipzig he was assistant to Karl Christian Bruhns and took part in measurements of double stars carried out by Friedrich Wilhelm Rudolf Engelmann.

Vogel was awarded a doctorate in 1870 from Jena for work on nebulae and star clusters and went in the same year to the Sternwarte Bothkamp of Kammerherrn von Bülow, c. 20 km south of Kiel. Here he undertook his first spectral analyses on celestial bodies. Wilhelm Oswald Lohse became his assistant.

Vogel left the observatory in 1874, in order to work as an employee of the newly founded Astrophysical Observatory in Potsdam (AOP) dealing with the planning and the setting-up of the instruments of the institute. In this connection he conducted a study trip to Britain in the summer of 1875.

From 1882 till 1907 Vogel was director of the AOP and developed it in this time to a world-leading institute of astrophysics. Hermann Carl Vogel died in Potsdam in 1907.

Areas of work

Vogel pioneered the use of the spectroscope in astronomy. He applied this instrument to chemically analyze planetary atmospheres and in 1871 he was the first to establish Sun's rotational period using the Doppler effect.

He is also considered the inventor of the photographic-spectroscopic radial velocity measurements of stars. He is possibly best known for a discovery he made using this method. Vogel found that the spectra of certain stars shifted slightly over time, moving toward the red and then later toward the blue. His interpretation of this result was that the star was moving toward and then away from the Earth, and that the accompanying spectral shifts were the result of the Doppler effect. These stars appeared to be orbiting around a hidden center of mass, and thus they were double-star systems. However, in each case the companion star could not be resolved using a telescope, and so these double-star systems were designated spectroscopic binaries.

By obtaining periodic Doppler shifts in the components of Algol, Vogel proved, in 1889, that it was a binary star; thus, Algol was one of the first known spectroscopic binaries (and it is also known to be an eclipsing binary). (Nowadays a third star is known to rotate around these two stars). In 1892 Vogel produced reliable data for 51 stars.

He had also made use of the Doppler effect here on Earth. In 1875 he demonstrated the effect in the acoustic area with a whistle of a German Borsig-Lokomotive. In 1895 Hermann Carl Vogel was awarded the Pour le mérite für Wissenschaft und Künste and was, among others, a member of the following learned societies:



Named after him


  1. ^ a b Joseph S. Tenn. "The Bruce Medalists: Hermann Carl Vogel". Sonoma State University. 
  2. ^ "Henry Draper Medal". National Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 19 February 2011. 

Further reading

  • Frost, E. B. (1908). "Hermann Carl Vogel". The Astrophysical Journal 27: 1–11.  

External links

  • Short biography
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.