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Urbain Le Verrier Biography – A Planet Named Vulcan

According to the Urbain Le Verrier biography, Le Verrier spent the latter years of his life trying to convince the scientific world there was a planet between the sun and Mercury which he named Vulcan.

Personal Information

Urbain Le Verrier was born on March 11, 1811 in Saint Lo, France. He attended Ecole Polytechnique where he briefly studied chemistry before switching to astronomy and specializing in celestial mechanics. There’s very little known about his private life except that he was married and did have children. He died in Paris, France on September 23, 1877. He was buried in the Cimetiere Montparnesse. His grave site is marked by a large celestial globe.

Career and Discoveries

Upon completion of his schooling, Le Verrier accepted a position at Paris Observatory and eventually became the director of the observatory. As stated in the Urbain Le Verrier biography, he spent most of his professional career here.

Using mathematical calculations and observations on the orbit of Uranus, Le Verrier determined there was another planet near Uranus. He sent his final predictions to the French Academy on August 31, 1846 and onto the Berlin Observatory by mail on September 18, 1846. On September 23, 1846, the planet Neptune was seen for the first time using Urbain Le Verrier’s calculations.

So elated by the discovery of Neptune, Le Verrier predicted an unknown planet between Mercury and the Sun which he named Vulcan. This was finally disproved in 1915 by Albert Einstein.

Le Verrier spent the latter years of his life calculating the exact orbits of all eight planets. According to the Urbain Le Verrier biography, he also created the first meteorological service for France.


  • Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society – 1868 and 1878
  • Crater named in his honor on the Moon
  • Crater on Mars named in his honor
  • Ring of Neptune named in his honor
  • Asteroid 1997 Leverrier named in his honor
  • His name is one of the seventy two names engraved on the Eiffel Tower
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