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Keeler, James Edward

Born La Salle, Illinois, USA, 10 September 1857

Died San Francisco, California, USA, 12 August 1900

In an era dominated by large refracting telescopes, James Keeler demonstrated the promise and future prospects of reflecting telescopes for conducting astronomical research. His celestial photographs taken with the Crossley reflector demonstrated conclusively that the nebulae, many of them spiral nebulae, existed in much larger numbers than had been previously imagined. Keeler used the spectrograph to measure fundamental physical and chemical properties of celestial objects as a pioneer astrophysicist.

Keeler was the son of William F. and Anna (née Dutton) Keeler. His father, a senior partner in the La Salle Iron Works, had previously been a watchmaker and traveled around the world, after having no success in the California Gold Rush. Keeler grew up in La Salle, Illinois, where he witnessed the