Cornelis Johannes van Houten

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Cornelis Johannes van Houten
Born(1920-02-18)18 February 1920
Died24 August 2002(2002-08-24) (aged 82)
Other namesKees van Houten
Spouse(s)Ingrid van Houten-Groeneveld
ChildrenKarel van Houten
Scientific career
InstitutionsLeiden Observatory
Palomar Observatory
Yerkes Observatory

Cornelis Johannes van Houten (February 18, 1920 – 24 August 2002) was a Dutch astronomer, sometimes referred to as Kees van Houten.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in The Hague, he spent his entire career at Leiden University except for a brief period (1954–1956) as research assistant at Yerkes Observatory. He received his undergraduate degree in 1940, but World War II interrupted his studies and he did not get his Ph.D. until 1961 (on the surface photometry of extragalactic nebulae).


He married fellow astronomer Ingrid Groeneveld (who became Ingrid van Houten-Groeneveld) and together they became interested in asteroids. They had one son, Karel.

Work as astronomer[edit]

In a jointly credited trio with Tom Gehrels and Ingrid, he was an extremely prolific discoverer of many thousands of asteroids.[1] Gehrels did a sky survey using the 48-inch Schmidt telescope at Palomar Observatory and shipped the plates to the van Houtens at Leiden Observatory, who analyzed them for new asteroids. The trio are jointly credited with several thousand discoveries. When the orbit of an asteroid is determined, it can be classified as an Apollo asteroid, an Amor asteroid or a Trojan asteroid.

He also studied the radial velocities of close binary stars. He never retired, but remained active and published articles until his death, on asteroids and eclipsing binaries. The main-belt asteroid 1673 van Houten was named in his honor.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schmidt, Bernhard (1879-1935)
  2. ^ Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). "(1673) van Houten". Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (1673) van Houten. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 133. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-29925-7_1674. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3.

External links[edit]