Astrophysicist Herbert Gursky dies

December 18, 2006

Astrophysicist Herbert Gursky, superintendent of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory's Space Science Division, died earlier this month in Fairfax, Va.

The cause of death of the 76-year-old scientist was stomach cancer, his family told The New York Times.

Gursky helped develop an X-ray detector launched into space that, in 1966, discovered a star in the constellation Scorpio was emitting more X-rays than visible light, the newspaper said. At the time, the sun was the only confirmed source of X-rays in the upper atmosphere.

In 1971, he and others at American Science and Engineering Inc., in Cambridge, Mass., discovered Cygnus, considered to be the first recorded example of a black hole.

Gursky received his doctorate in physics from Princeton University in 1958. After teaching at Columbia University, he joined American Science and Engineering in 1961 and became director of the company's space research division in 1970.

Gursky moved to Harvard in 1973 and was associate director of optical and infrared astronomy at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics from 1975-81, when he then joined the Naval Research Laboratory as chief scientist for space research.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: James Webb Space Telescope receives first mirror installation

Related Stories

How do astronauts keep fit in space?

November 23, 2015

Imagine being the first human to walk on Mars—for today's youngsters such ambitions could really materialise as humankind steps closer to the next cosmic frontier.

Mathematicians identify limits to heat flow at the nanoscale

November 24, 2015

How much heat can two bodies exchange without touching? For over a century, scientists have been able to answer this question for virtually any pair of objects in the macroscopic world, from the rate at which a campfire can ...

Recommended for you

Exploring the physics of a chocolate fountain

November 24, 2015

A mathematics student has worked out the secrets of how chocolate behaves in a chocolate fountain, answering the age-old question of why the falling 'curtain' of chocolate surprisingly pulls inwards rather than going straight ...

Biomedical imaging at one-thousandth the cost

November 23, 2015

MIT researchers have developed a biomedical imaging system that could ultimately replace a $100,000 piece of a lab equipment with components that cost just hundreds of dollars.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.