Gerard Peter Kuiper

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Gerard P. Kuiper

Gerard Peter Kuiper , actually Gerrit Pieter Kuiper (born December 7, 1905 in Harenkarspel , † December 24, 1973 in Mexico City ), last name spoken [ ˈkœypə ], was an American astronomer of Dutch origin. The Kuiper belt was named after him.


Kuiper was the oldest of four children. His parents were Gerrit (a trained tailor ) and Antje nee de Vries. From 1924 he studied astronomy at the University of Leiden . In 1927 he successfully completed his bachelor's degree and immediately followed it up with his doctoral studies. Kuiper took part in an eight-month eclipse expedition to Sumatra in 1929 .

After studying at the University of Leiden and receiving a doctorate on double stars with Ejnar Hertzsprung , he went to the USA in 1933 and worked at the Yerkes Observatory at the University of Chicago from 1937 . In 1949 Kuiper initiated the Yerkes – McDonald Asteroid Survey (1950–1952). In 1960 he founded the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona .

Mainly he was concerned with the solar system . He detected the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Mars and discovered the atmosphere of Titan as well as the Uranus moon Miranda and the Neptune moon Nereid . He also worked theoretically on issues relating to the formation of the solar system and predicted the Kuiper belt that would be named after him .

Kuiper was also involved in finding suitable landing sites for the Apollo program by analyzing images from the lunar probes as the chief scientist of NASA's Ranger project in the 1960s .


Web links


  • Stars and Space, 4/2008

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Dale P. Cruikshank: Gerard Peter Kuiper (1905-1973). A Biographical Memoir. National Academy of Sciences, 1993. ( PDF )
  2. ^ Kuiper Crater on Mercury; NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Kuiper Crater in Color, accessed December 11, 2015