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Hencke, Karl Ludwig

Born Driesen (Drezdenko, Poland), 8 April 1793

Died Marienwerder (Kwidzyń, Poland), 21 September 1866

Working with extremely simple means, the amateur astronomer Karl Hencke discovered two asteroids and five variable stars, and made notable contributions to the preparation of the Berlin Academic Star Charts. After attending the city school in his hometown, Hencke progressed through a career in the postal service that was interrupted in 1813 by his entry into a Prussian military corps during the war against Napoleon. In 1817, he became a postal secretary and managed the post office of his native city. At a comparatively young age of 45 years, he retired for health reasons in 1837. For 4 years thereafter, Hencke occupied an honorary civic post.

Hencke engaged in astronomical activity in addition to his professional duties and intensified his scientific pursuits after his retirement. In the skylight of his residence in Driesen, Hencke constructed an observatory.