return to homepage

Johann Gottfried Galle Biography – Neptune’s German Astronomer

According to the Johann Gottfried Galle Biography, he was the German astronomer who was the first to see the planet Neptune.

Personal Information

Not much is known about Johann Gotfried Galle’s personal life. According to the Johann Gottfried Galle biography, he was born in Radis in the Wittenberg district of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany on June 9, 1812. He attended the University of Berlin and graduated in 1833. It is known he was married and had at least one son, but little else is known. He died July 10, 1912 in Potsdam, Germany.

Career and Discoveries

After the completion of the Berlin Observatory, Johann Gotfried Galle became an assistant director along side Johann Franz Encke in 1835. On September 23, 1836, Galle received Le Verrier’s calculations of a possible new planet. According to the Johann Gottfried Galle biography, after receiving permission from Encke to use these calculations Johann Gotfried Galle observed a new object for the first time that same night. Over the next two nights Galle confirmed that Neptune was a new planet.

Johann Gotfried Galle spent time studying the rings of Saturn and also suggested a method of measuring the scale of the Solar System which was eventually accepted. He also spent his career studying comets, and during the period of December 2, 1839 to March 6, 1840 discovered three new comets.

In 1851 Galle moved to Breslau and became director of the local observatory and a professor of astronomy. In 1894 with the help of his son Andreas Galle, Johann Gotfried Galle published a list of 414 comets. He remained here until his retirement in 1897.


  • A crater on the Moon was named in his honor
  • A crater aka “the happy face” on Mars was named in his honor
  • The asteroid 2097 Galle was named in his honor
  • One of the rings was Neptune was named in his honor

(Netscape users hit CTRL+D)

For Young Astronomers

You Might Also Like...

Planets Poster
Buy at

Did you know?

The Hubble Telescope was named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble and it was launched into space in 1990.

For Sci Fi Fans

Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle Poster
Buy at

You may notice some pages looking different than others for the time being. I'm currently redesigning the site to better serve your needs. I think you'll like the new look.
[?] Subscribe To This Site

Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Subscribe with Bloglines

Enjoy This Site?
Then why not use the button below, to add us to your favorite bookmarking service?

Bookmark and Share

Note: I recieve monetary compensation in the form of commissions valued at 4%-50% for various products promoted and reviewed on this website.

Return to Astronomy For Kids Online Homepage from this Johann Gottfried Galle Biography page

Astronomy For Kids Online Copyright© 2005-2009.