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Mitchel, Ormsby Macknight

MITCHEL, ORMSBY MACKNIGHT (1800-1862), American astronomer, was born at Morganfield, Kentucky, on the 28th of July, 1809. He began life as a clerk, but, obtaining an appointment to a cadetship at West Point in 1825, he graduated there in 1829, and acted as assistant professor of mathematics 1829-1832. He was then called to the bar, but in 1836 became professor of mathematics and natural philosophy at Cincinnati College. In 1845 he was made director of an observatory established there through his initiative, and also in 1859 superintendent of the Dudley observatory at Albany. In 1861 he took part in the war as brigadier-general of volunteers, and for his skill in seizing certain important strategic points was on the nth of April 1862 made major-general. He died of yellow fever at Beaufort, South Carolina, on the 30th of October 1862. He founded the Sidereal Messenger in 1846, was one of the first to adopt (in 1848) the electrical method of recording observations, and published besides other works, TheOrbs of Heaven (1848, etc.), and Popular Astronomy (1860), both reissued at London in 1892.

See Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel; a Biographical Narrative, by his son, F. A. Mitchel (1887); P. C. Headley, The Patriot Boy (1865); Amer. Journal of Science, xxiv. 451 (1862); Month. Notices Roy. Astr. Society, xxiii. 133, xxxvii. 121 (C. Abbe); Astr. Nach., No. 1401 (G. W. Hough).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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