Gerard Peter Kuiper, famous astronomer
, was born in the Netherlands
in 1905, and moved to USA
in 1933, joining the staff at Lick Observatory
where he studied binary star
s and made spectroscopic
searches for white dwarf
Later, at Yerkes and McDonald Observatories, he continued his observations studies of stars and made contributions to the theory of the origin of the solar system. Using infrared detectors available at the end of World War II, he pioneered modern infrared astronomy with his spectroscopic
observations of late-type stars and the planets. He discovered water vapor in Mira variable stars, methane in the atmosphere of Saturn's Titan, and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Mars. He also discovered one satellite each of Uranus and Neptune, Miranda and Nereid respectively.
Kuiper was director of the Yerkes and McDonald
Observatories, and later founded and directed the
Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona. He made important scientific
contributions to the early NASA programs of lunar and planetary exploration, serving as Principal Investigator on the Ranger missions to the Moon.
He is probably most known for his theory about the