Edison Pettit was an astronomer on the staff of the Mount Wilson [and Palomar]
Observatories for thirty-five years. An observer and instrumentalist, he was a pioneer in
the early fields of infrared and ultraviolet research. His main interest was in the sun
but later expanded to include the moon and planets. His collaboration with Seth B.
Nicholson on the heat radiation from the planets and moon was the most significant
research on these bodies during the first half of the twentieth century.* For a while, Pettit gave his birth date as
September 22, 1889. This error propagated long after Pettit corrected his mistake. Some
obituaries will thus incorrectly give his birth date as 1889.
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