Saturday, October 01, 2016

Andre Brahic: Discoverer of Neptune’s Ring Dies

Andre Brahic: Discoverer of Neptune’s Ring Dies

Stacey Severn/Twitter

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Andre Brahic, a French astrophysicist, who discovered Neptune’s ring on Sunday died in Paris. His publisher and friend Odile Jacob revealed the sad news.

The Frenchman,73, was a pundit of the solar system. He along with a US astronomer, William Hubbard, advanced a discovery programme, which unravelled three gaseous rings around the densest planet Neptune. They named them – Equality, Fraternity, and Liberty.

Neptune is the fourth largest planet by diameter and third largest by mass in the solar system. The rings are made up of organic compounds processed by the radiation. The proportion of dust is very high in the rings.

In the observatory programme, other discoverers were, Patrice Bouchet, Reinhold Häfner and Jean Manfroid at La Silla Observatory (ESO).

French President Francois Hollande paid homage to Brahic. He said that Brahic could easily explain the enigmas of the solar system. He described him as a great teacher whose explanations and books  allowed people to get a core view of space.

“He was a brilliant character: extraordinarily warm, profound and authentic, a great scholar and also a storyteller, a writer,” Jacob said in a report by BBC.

His desire and curiosity to search out for rings of Saturn led to the discovery of Neptune rings. His collaboration with a professor at the University of Paris and with the Commission for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies in Paris also helped to uncover several theories of the solar system.

According to Phys.Org, Brahic was born in 1942, during a Nazi-occupied Paris. He was introduced to astrophysics after the war, by Evry Schatzman – called the father of discipline in France.

By 1980s, Brahic was an expert in exploring the solar system through US-Europe Cassini and NASA missions.

In 1990,  an asteroid number 3488 was named Brahicin his honour.  In 2001, he was awarded a Carl Sagan Medal. He had written several books on astrophysics.

“Worlds Elsewhere; Are We Alone” was his last book published by Jacob.