Barnard, Edward Emerson, 1857-1923

Alternative names
Birth 1857-12-16
Death 1923-02-06

Biographical notes:

Astronomer (discoverer of moons of Jupiter). On the faculty at Vanderbilt University. Born and raised in Nashville, TN.

From the description of Tennessee Historical Society Miscellaneous Files Box 1 (B-4, B10 1/3, B10 1/2, B10 3/4), 1892-1906. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 84586793

Barnard (1857-1923). Astronomer.

From the description of Papers, 1882-1923. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 80633219

From the description of Papers of Edward Emerson Bernard, 1882-1923. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 154303002

Astronomer. B.S., Vanderbilt University, 1887. Professor, University of Chicago, 1895-1921.

From the description of Notebooks, 1880-1916. (University of Chicago Library). WorldCat record id: 52247467

Edward Emerson Barnard was born in Nashville, Tennessee December 16th 1857. His father died before his birth, leaving the family in poverty. Barnard’s mother directed his education, and at the age of nine, he began working in a photographic studio.

In 1876, Barnard purchased a 5-inch (130 mm) refractor telescope and a basic astronomy book and taught himself observational astronomy. In 1881 he discovered the first of many comets. That same year he married Rhoda Calvert. In 1883, he received a fellowship to Vanderbilt University, graduating in mathematics in 1887. He was also an instructor at Vanderbilt during his studies.

In 1887 Barnard moved to California to work at the University of California’s new Lick Observatory. In 1892, he made the first photographic discovery of a comet. That same year Barnard discovered the fifth moon of Jupiter. He won the Gold Medal of Britain’s Royal Astronomical Society in 1897 for his research on the Milky Way, featured in A Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way (1927).

In 1895 Barnard joined the faculty of the University of Chicago as a Professor of Practical Astronomy working first at the Kenwood Observatory, then at the newly constructed Yerkes Observatory, in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

A pioneering astrophotographer, Barnard cataloged a series of dark nebula, giving them numerical designations beginning with Barnard 1 and ending with Barnard 370. He published his initial list with a 1919 paper in the Astrophysical Journal, "On the Dark Markings of the Sky with a Catalogue of 182 such Objects".

Barnard died on February 6, 1923 in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, and was buried in Nashville.

From the guide to the Barnard. Edward Emerson. Papers, 1846-1926, (Special Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.)


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Ark ID:


  • Astronomy--Observations
  • Jupiter (Planet)--Observations
  • Comets--Photographs
  • Milky Way--Photographs
  • Astronomy


  • Astronomers


  • Jupiter (Planet) (as recorded)
  • Jupiter (Planet) (as recorded)
  • Jupiter (Planet) (as recorded)