Olbers, Heinrich Wilhelm Matthäus
Heinrich Wilhelm Matthäus Olbers (hīn´rĬkh vĬl´hĕlm mätĕ´ŏŏs ôl´bərs), 1758–1840, German astronomer and physician. He originated (1797) the first satisfactory method for calculating the orbits of comets, but despite the fame it brought him, he remained an amateur astronomer and became a physician. However, he continued his research on comets and discovered several. He was the first to detect the comet of 1815 (Comet Olbers, period 72.7 years). He also discovered two asteroids, Pallas (1802) and Vesta (1807). Considering their orbits and those of the other asteroids then known, Olbers concluded that they are fragments of a disrupted planet that had formerly revolved around the sun.
He is best remembered for Olbers' paradox: "Why is the sky dark at night?" Assuming that space is infinite and filled with stars, he suggested, the entire sky should be as bright as the surface of the sun. The question had originally been raised by Kepler. Others offered one of several incorrect resolutions to the paradox, suggesting that absorbing clouds obscured our view of the distant stars. The correct explanation is that our universe is finite both in time and place, and the total amount of matter and energy is far too small to light up the night sky.
"Olbers, Heinrich Wilhelm Matthäus." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (June 25, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/olbers-heinrich-wilhelm-matthaus
"Olbers, Heinrich Wilhelm Matthäus." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved June 25, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/olbers-heinrich-wilhelm-matthaus
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.