|Birth: ||Jan. 18, 1866|
New Jersey, USA
|Death: ||Sep. 27, 1951|
New York County
New York, USA
Charles, Lane Poor, a Fellow of the Society since 1893 November 10, died at his home in New York City on 1951 September 27. He had been Professor of Astronomy and Celestial Mechanics at Columbia University for 44 years until his retirement in 1947. He was born in Hackensack, N.J. on 1866 January 18. He took the Bachelor of Science degree at the College of the City of New York in 1866, and the Master's degree from the same college in 1890. For his graduate work he went to the Johns Hopkins University where Simon Newcomb was then Head of the Departments of Mathematics and Astronomy, and he assigned to Poor as a dissertation for the partial fulfillment of the degree of doctor of philosophy the perplexing and challenging problem of Comet 1889 V.
The comet, discovered by Brooks on 1889 July 6, soon attracted the wildest attention. On the observational side, on August 1, Barnard at the Lick Observatory found that the comet consisted not only of one body but of a family of comets moving together in space. The companion comets were observed by Barnard until November 25, and the last observation was made by him on March 20, a month later than by any other observer. The comet followed an elliptic path of period about seven years.
Strange as were the happenings of the comet as witnessed by Barnard, the changes in the orbit were far more remarkable, for in all probability the 1889 comet was identical with a comet observed more than a hundred years earlier in 1770. Upon the computation of the orbit of this comet by Lexell, it was found to be revolving about the Sun in a period of five and a half years. This was considered to be remarkable, for the comet was visible to the naked eye and should have been seen at some of its former returns. However, the comet had never been seen before, nor has it ever been seen since.
Lexell found that the comet made several close approaches to the planet Jupiter and that in the year 1779 the attraction of the planet on the comet was over two hundred times as great as that of the Sun itself. The body, because of its never having been observed since 1770, has been called "Lixell's lost comet of 1770".
S.C. Chandler investigated the orbit and found that "several months before reaching its perihelion in 1886, it passed into the sphere of Jupiter's attraction and was deflected into a hyperbolic pat;h about the planet, remaining for more than eight months under its control--the disturbing action of the Sun being insignificant".
Poor's careful investigation showed that the comet passed the centre of Jupiter at "a distance not greater than 3*65 and not less than 1*00 radius of the planet itself. In other words, the centre of the comet may have grazed the surface of Jupiter. ..... There are many interesting problems connecting the comet with the fifth satellite of Jupiter. There is certainly great probability that the satellite passed directly though the comet; the mean path of the comet intersected that of the satellite, so a direct collision was possible".
The fine quality of his research on the 1889 V comet was rewarded by Poor's appointment to the Johns Hopkins faculty, where he succeeded Simon Newcomb as Head of the Department of Astronomy. In 1899 he resigned from the Hopkins to take over the cotton factoring business of his father and he had charge of cotton mills in the State of South Carolina. The call of science was far greater than that of business and in 1903 he became Professor of Astronomy at Columbia University. In 1947 he became Professor Emeritus, which position he held until his death.
Dr Poor had many interest. He was an ardent yachtsman, and in the 1900s he was the owner of racing yachts, one he called by the astronomical name of Mira. For 25 years he was the Chairman of the Admissions' Committee of the New York Yacht Club. He wrote books on the measurement of yachts and several books on navigation. He invented what amounted to a circular slide-rule for solving the problems of navigation, both by the older methods and by the newer lines of position. In fact, one of his navigation instruments went along with the American delegates on the Cunard liner " Aquitania " on the way to the I.A.U. Brussels Conference in 1919.
He is survived by his wife, the former Anna Easton, also by two sons, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.
S.A. Mitchell -- No. 3, 1952 Obituary notices pg 279-80 Vol. 112
c Royal Astronomical Society * Provided by the NASA Astrophysics Data System
Edward Erie Poor (1837 - 1900)
Mary Lane Wellington Poor (1839 - 1925)
Created by: God Bless ღ ~ Sand...
Record added: Apr 12, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 35800990
|Photos may be scaled.|
Click on image for full size.