Appointed the first director of the newly-built Königsberg Observatory in 1810, and working there for the remainder of his life, Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel (1784-1846) was an influential German astronomer and mathematician who, from that same observatory, plotted the positions of tens of thousands of stars. He is famous for being the first (in 1838) to obtain an accurate distance measurement between the sun and a star – 61 Cygni.
His grave is situated where the observatory stood prior to its devastation by RAF bombing in 1945 and the plinth reads: ‘Outstanding German astronomer and mathematician, surveyor, reformer of practical astronomy. Honorary member of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences. In 1810-1846 he lived and worked in Königsberg.’