Fred Whipple

Fred Whipple was a Solar System expert. His “dirty snowball” theory, which said comets are composed of ice and dirt, was confirmed in 1986.


Fred Lawrence Whipple was born on November 5, 1906, in Red Oak, Iowa. In 1945, he became a Harvard professor of astronomy. He was a Solar System expert, particularly about comets. In 1950, he hypothesized that comets are composed of ice and dust. Studies of Halley’s comet in 1986 confirmed this theory. He died in 2004 in Massachusetts.


Astronomer, born in Red Oak, Iowa, USA. He studied at California University, and became professor of astronomy at Harvard in 1945. An expert on the Solar System, he is known especially for his work on comets. In 1950 he suggested that they are composed of ice and dust, and that many aspects of their behaviour could be interpreted on this basis; later work, and especially the study of Halley's comet in 1986 by space probes, has confirmed this ??dirty snowball?? model.

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