George Howard Herbig

George Howard Herbig


Date of Birth
January 2, 1920
Date of Death
October 12, 2013

George Herbig earned his bachelor’s degree at UCLA in 1943 and his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley in 1948. His thesis research on T Tauri stars was performed at the Lick Observatory. He then joined the staff of Lick and lived on Mt. Hamilton until the observatory became part of the University of California, Santa Cruz in the late 1960s. He designed the coudé spectrograph for the Shane 3-m telescope at Lick. In 1987 he moved to the University of Hawaii, where he investigated diffuse interstellar bands found in the spectra of stars and very faint young stars in Galactic clusters. Herbig was known for his spectroscopic studies of young stars, star formation, and the interstellar medium. He found and investigated many H-alpha emission objects, T Tauri stars, and peculiar stars. He and Guillermo Haro independently discovered the Herbig-Haro objects, gas clouds associated with young stars. Herbig showed that lithium abundance is correlated with age in young stars, and he investigated rotation rates of stars of different spectral class. He continued research until the end of his life, publishing two articles at age ninety-two. His doctoral students included noted astronomers Robert P. Kraft, Elizabeth Roemer, George Preston, Leonard Kuhi, Ann Boesgaard, Beverly Lynds, Robert Zappala, William Alschuler, N. Kameswara Rao, Douglas Duncan, and David Soderblom.

Presentation of Bruce medal

Mercury 9, 159 (1980).

Other awards

American Astronomical Society, Helen B. Warner Prize, 1955; Henry Norris Russell Lectureship, 1975.

Biographical materials

Nakaso, Dan, Honolulu Advertiser, 16 August 2009.
Reipurth, Bo, George Herbig and Early Stellar Evolution, Institute for Astronomy Special Publications No. 1 (2016).


W.M. Keck Observatory, 14 October 2013.
McNally, Derek, Observatory 134, 90-91 (2014).
Reipurth, Bo, Nature 503, 470 (2013).
Soderblom, David R., PASP 126, 319-23 (2014).

Academic genealogy



AIP Center for History of Physics
University of Chicago Archival Photographic Files
Institute of Astronomy, University of Hawaii at Manoa, photo by Karen Teramura

Named after him

Minor Planet #11754 Herbig
Herbig-Haro objects (with Guillermo Haro)
Herbig Ae and Be (HAEBE) stars


Other References: Historical

Hearnshaw, J. B., The Analysis of Starlight (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1986).

Herbig, George, “Historical Introduction. Star formation: the Early History,” in A. Maeder & G. Meynet, Physics of Star Formation in Galaxies. Saas-Fee Advanced Course 29. Lecture Notes 1999, Les Diablerets, Switzerland, 22 to 29 March 1999 (Springer, Berline, 2002), pp. 1-7.

Osterbrock, D.E., J. Gustafson, & J. S. Unruh, Eye on the Sky: Lick Observatory’s First Century (University of California Press, Berkeley, 1988).

Ray, T.P., “Herbig Ae/Be stars,” Astrophysics & Space Science 216, 71-86 (1994).

Reipurth, Bo and Steve Heathcote, “Herbig-Haro Objects and the Birth of Stars,” Sky & Telescope 90, 4, 38 (Oct. 1995).

Search ADS for works about Herbig

Other References: Scientific

Herbig, George H., “Revised Values of the Linear Diameters of Seven Bright Stars,” PASP 52, 327-29 (1940).

Herbig, George H., “A Study of the Multiple Meteoritic Falls of the World, ” Popular Astronomy 51, 455-58 (1943).

Herbig, George H., “Observations of Comets and Asteroids, ” Lick Obs. Bull. 19, 163-66 (1944).

Herbig, George H., “Emission Lines of Fe I in RW Aurigae,” PASP 57, 166-68 (1945).

Herbig, George H., “The Eclipsing Binaries ZZ Cephei and UY Virginis,” Ap.J. 106, 112-20 (1947).

Herbig, George H., “Identification of a Molecular Band at λ 3682 in the Spectra of Late-Type Stars,” Ap.J. 109, 109-15 (1949).

2Herbig, George H., “The Spectrum of R Coronae Borealis at the 1948-1949 Minimum,” Ap.J. 110, 143-55 (1949).

Herbig, George H., “The Spectrum of the Nebulosity Surrounding T Tauri,” Ap.J. 111, 11-14 (1950).

Herbig, George H., “The Spectra of Two Nebulous Objects Near NGC 1999,” Ap.J. 113, 697-99 (1951) [the discovery of Herbig-Haro objects].

Herbig, George H. & J.H. Moore, “The Cepheid Variable S. Sagittae. I. The Radial-Velocity Variation,” Ap.J. 116, 348-68 (1952).

Herbig, George H. & J.H. Moore, “The Cepheid Variable S. Sagittae. II. The Emission Lines,” Ap.J. 116, 369-81 (1952).

Herbig, George H., “Emission-line Stars in Galactic Nebulosities,” JRASC 46, 222-33 (1952).

Herbig, George H., “Bright-Hα Stars in IC 348,” PASP 66, 19-22 (1954).

Herbig, George H., “Emission-Line Stars Associated with the Nebulous Cluster NGC 2264,” Ap.J. 119, 483-95 (1954).

Walker, Merle F. & George H. Herbig, “Photoelectric and Spectroscopic Observations of UX Ursae Majoris,” Ap.J. 120, 278-304 (1954).

Herbig, George H. & John F. Spalding, Jr., “Axial Rotation and Line Broadening in Stars of Spectral Types F0-K5” Ap.J. 121, 118-43 (1955).

Herbig, George H., “Identification of Aluminum Hydride as the Emitter of Bright Lines Observed in chi Cygni Near Minimum Light,” PASP 68, 204-10 (1956).

Herbig, George H., “The Source of Illumination of NGC 1579,” PASP 68, 353-56 (1956).

Herbig, George H., ed., Non-Stable Stars. Proc. IAU Symp. no. 3, held in Dublin, Sept. 1, 1955 (Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, UK, 1957).

Herbig, George H., “On the Nature and Origin of the T Tauri Stars,” in George H. Herbig, ed., Non-Stable Stars. Proc. IAU Symp. no. 3, held in Dublin, Sept. 1, 1955 (Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, UK, 1957), pp. 3-10

Herbig, George H., “The Widths of Absorption Lines in T Tauri-Like Stars,” Ap.J. 125, 612-13 (1957).

Herbig, George H., “Emission-Line Stars in the Vicinity of Messier 8, Messier 20, and Simeis 188,” Ap.J. 125, 654-60 (1957).

Herbig, George H., “The Irregular Variable Star V348N Sagittarii,” Ap.J. 127, 312-18 (1958).

Herbig, George H., “NGC 7000, IC 5070, and the Associated Emission-Line Stars,” Ap.J. 128, 259-66 (1958).

Herbig, George H., “The Spectra of Be- and Ae-Type Stars Associated with Nebulosity,” Ap.J. Supp. 4, 337-68 (1960) [the discovery of HAEBE objects].

Herbig, G.H., “Spectral Classifications for 112 Variable Stars,” Ap.J. 131, 632-37 (1960).

Herbig, G.H., “Observations and an Interpretation of VV Puppis,” Ap.J. 132, 76-86 (1960).

Herbig, G.H., “The Properties and Problems of T Tauri Stars and Related Objects,” Advances in Astronomy and Astrophysics 1, 47-103 (1962).

Herbig, G.H., “Spectral Classification of Faint Members of the Hyades and Pleiades and the Dating Problem in Galactic Clusters,” Ap.J. 135, 736-47 (1962).

Herbig, G.H. & L.V. Kuhi, “Emission-Line Stars in the Region of NGC 2068,” Ap.J. 137, 398-400 (1963).

Herbig, G. H., “Apparent Lithium Isotope Ratios in F5-G8 Dwarfs,” Ap.J. 140, 702-06 (1964)

Eggen, Olin J. & George H. Herbig, eds., Clusters and Stellar Evolution: a Colloquium Sponsored by Commission 37 of the International Astronomical Union. Royal Observatory Bulletin no. 82. (Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1964).

Herbig, G. H., “Lithium Abundances in F5-G8 Dwarfs,” Ap.J. 141, 588-609 (1965) and 141, 1592 (1965).

Wallerstein, George, G.H. Herbig, & Peter S. Conti, “Observations of the Lithium Content of Main-Sequence Stars in the Hyades,” Ap.J. 141, 610-16 (1965).

Herbig, G.H., “The Diffuse Interstellar Bands. II. The Profile of λ4430 in HD 183143,” Zeitschrift für Astrophysik 64, 512-17 (1966).

Herbig, G.H., “Lithium Abundances in F, G and K-type Subgiants,” Annales d'Astrophysique 29, 593-600 (1966).

Herbig, G.H., “On the Interpretation of FU Orionis,” Vistas in Astronomy 8, 109-25 (1966).

Herbig, G.H., “The Interstellar Line Spectrum of Zeta Ophiuchi,” Zeitschrift für Astrophysik 68, 243-77 (1968).

Herbig, G. H., “The Structure and Spectrum of R Monocerotis,” Ap.J. 152, 439-41 (1968).

Herbig, G.H. & A.A. Boyarchuk, “The Peculiar Variable FG Sagittae,” Ap.J. 153, 397-420 (1968).

Herbig, G.H., ed., Spectroscopic Astrophysics. An Assessment of the Contributions of Otto Struve (Univ. of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 1970).

Herbig, G.H. & R.R. Zappala, “Near-Infrared Spectra of NML Cygni and IRC+10216,” Ap.J. 162, L15-L18 (1970).

Herbig, G.H., “VY Canis Majoris. II. Interpretation of the Energy Distribution,” Ap.J. 162, 557-70 (1970) [erratum].

Herbig, G.H., “The Spectrum of LkHα-101 in the Near-Infrared,” Ap.J. 169, 537-41 (1971).

Herbig, G.H., “VY Canis Majoris. III. Polarization and Structure of the Nebulosity,” Ap.J. 172, 375-81 (1972).

Herbig, G.H. & N. Kameswara Rao, “Second Catalog of Emission-Line Stars of the Orion Population,” Ap.J. 174, 401-23 (1972).

Herbig, G.H., “BD –10 4662 Interpreted as a Post-T Tauri Star,” Ap.J. 182, 129-38 (1973).

Flannery, Brian P. & G.H. Herbig, “Expansion of the Planetary Nebula Surrounding FG Sagittae,” Ap.J. 183, 491-98 (1973).

Herbig, G.H., “Draft Catalog of Herbig-Haro Objects,” Lick Obs. Bull. 658, 1 (1974).

Wehinger, P.A., S. Wyckoff, G.H. Herbig, G. Herzberg, & H. Lew, “Identification of H2O in the Tail of Comet Kohoutek (1973f),” Ap.J. 190, L43-L46 (1974).

Herbig, George H., “On the Nature of the Small Dark Globules in the Rosette Nebula,” PASP 86, 604-08 (1974).

Herbig, G.H., “The Diffuse Interstellar Bands. IV. The Region 4400-6850 Å,” Ap.J. 196, 129-60 (1975).

Cohen, Martin, et al, “The Peculiar Object HD 44179 (‘The Red Rectangle’),” Ap.J. 196, 179-89 (1975).

Herbig, G.H., “The Spectrum and Structure of ‘Minkowski’s footprint’ - M 1-92,” Ap.J. 200, 1-50 (1975).

Herbig, G.H. & D. Hoffleit, “The Coronal Line Spectrum of AS 295,” Ap.J. 202, L41-L45 (1975).

Herbig, G. H., “Radial Velocities and Spectral Types of T Tauri Stars,” Ap.J. 214, 747-58 (1977).

Herbig, G. H., “Eruptive Phenomena in Early Stellar Evolution,” Ap.J. 217, 693-715 (1977).

Soderblom, D.R., M.R. Hartoog, G.H. Herbig, F.S. Mueller, L.B. Robinson, & E.J. Wampler, “The Lick Observatory High Resolution Echelle Spectrograph,” in Hack, Margherita, ed., High Resolution Spectrometry, Proceedings of the 4th International Colloquium on Astrophysics, held in Trieste, July 3-7, 1978 (Osservatorio, Trieste, 1978), p. 449-58.

Herbig, G.H., “Some Aspects of Early Stellar Evolution That May be Relevant to the Origin of the Solar System,” in Dermott, S.F., ed, The Origin of the Solar System (Wiley-Interscience, Chichester, 1978), pp. 219-235.

Herbig, G.H., “Can Post-T Tauri Stars Be Found?” in L.V. Mirzoyan, ed, Problems of Physics and Evolution of the Universe (Publishing House of the Armenian Academy of Sciences, Yerevan, 1978), pp. 171-80.

Cudworth, K.M. & G. Herbig, “Two Large-Proper-Motion Herbig-Haro Objects,” Astronomical Journal 84, 548-51 (1979).

Jones, B.F. & G. Herbig, “Proper Motions of T Tauri Variables and Other Stars Associated with the Taurus-Auriga Dark Clouds,” Astronomical Journal 84, 1872-89 (1979) [erratum].

Herbig, G.H. & D.R. Soderblom, “Observations and Interpretation of the Near-infrared Line Spectra of T Tauri Stars,” Ap.J. 242, 628-37 (1980).

Herbig, G.H. & B.F. Jones, “Large proper motions of the Herbig-Haro objects HH 1 and HH 2,” Astronomical Journal 86, 1232-44 (1981).

Griffin, R.F. & G.H. Herbig, “Spectroscopic Orbits of ξ Piscium, 60-Andromedae and ξ1 Ceti,” MNRAS 196, 33-43 (1981).

Jones, B.F. & G. Herbig, “Proper Motions of Herbig-Haro objects. II. The Relationship of HH-39 to R Monocerotis and NGC 2261,” Astronomical Journal 87, 1223-32 (1982) .

Herbig, G.H. & D.R. Soderblom, “The Diffuse Interstellar Bands. V. High-Resolution Observations,” Ap.J. 252, 610-15 (1982).

Herbig, G.H., “Stars of Low to Intermediate Mass in the Orion Nebula,” Annals NY Acad. Sci. 395, 64-78 (1982).

Herbig, G.H. & B.F. Jones, “Proper Motions of Herbig-Haro objects. III. HH-7 through -11, HH-12, and HH-32,” Astronomical Journal 88, 1040-52 (1983) .

Mundt, Reinhard, Frederick M. Walter, Eric D. Feigelson, Ulrich Finkenzeller, George H. Herbig, & Andrew P. Odell, “Observations of Suspected Low-mass Post-T Tauri Stars and Their Evolutionary Status,” Ap.J. 269, 229-38 (1983).

Herbig, G.H., “The Origin and Early History of the Sun and the Planetary System in the Context of Stellar Evolution,” in Highlights of Astronomy. Vol. 6. Proceedings of the 18th General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union, Patras, Greece, August 17-26, 1982 (D. Reidel, Dordrecht, 1983), pp. 15-28 [abstract].

Herbig, G.H., “Chromospheric Hα Emission in F8-G3 Dwarfs, and Its Connection with the T Tauri Stars,” Ap.J. 289, 269-78 (1985).

Simon, Theodore, George Herbig, & Ann Merchant Boesgaard, “The Evolution of Chromospheric Activity and the Spin-down of Solar-type Stars,” Ap.J. 293, 551-70, 573-74 (1985).

Herbig, G.H., F.J. Vrba, & A.E. Rydgren, “A Spectroscopic Survey of the Taurus-Auriga Dark Clouds for Pre-main-sequence Stars Having CA II H, K emission,” Astronomical Journal 91, 575-82 (1986) .

Herbig, G.H. & D.M Terndrup, “The Trapezium Cluster of the Orion Nebula,” Ap.J. 307, 609-18 (1986).

Herbig, G.H. & Robert W. Goodrich, “Near-simultaneous Ultraviolet and Optical Spectrophotometry of T Tauri Stars,” Ap.J. 309, 294-305 (1986).

Herbig, G.H. & K. Robbin Bell, Third Catalog of Emission-Line Stars of the Orion Population. Lick Observatory Bulletin #1111 (Lick Observatory, Santa Cruz, Ca, 1988).

Herbig, G.H., “The Diffuse Interstellar Bands. VI. New Features near 6800 A,” Ap.J. 331, 999-1003 (1988).

Herbig, G.H., “FU Orionis eruptions,” in ESO Workshop on Low Mass Star Formation and Pre-Main Sequence Objects (European Southern Observatory, Garching, 1989), pp. 233 - 246.

Herbig, G.H. & K.D. Leka, “The Diffuse Interstellar Bands. VII. New Features between 6000 and 8650 A,” Ap.J. 382, 193-203 (1991).

Petrov, P.P. & G.H. Herbig, “On the Interpretation of the Spectrum of FU Orionis,” Ap.J. 392, 209-17 (1992).

Herbig, G.H., “The Diffuse Interstellar Bands. IX. Constraints on the Identification,” Ap.J. 407, 142-56 (1993).

Herbig, G.H., “The Ae/Be Stars,” in The, Pik Sin, Mario R. Perez, and Edward P. J. Van den Heuvel, eds., The Nature and Evolutionary Status of Herbig Ae/Be stars, Proceedings of the First International Meeting held in Amsterdam, 26-29 October 1993 Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, Vol. 62. (Astronomical Society of the Pacific, San Francisco, 1994), pp. 3-11.

Herbig, G.H., “Star Formation: Some Issues That Need Attention” Rev. Mex. Astron. Astrofis. 29, 17-22 (1994).

Herbig, G.H., “The Diffuse Interstellar Bands,” Ann. Rev. Astron. Astrophys. 33, 19-73 (1995).

Preibisch, T., H. Zinnecker, & G.H. Herbig, “ROSAT X-ray Observations of the Young Cluster IC 348,” Astronomy and Astrophysics 310, 456-73 (1996).

Herbig, G.H., “The Young Cluster IC 348,” Ap.J. 497, 736-58 (1998).

Herbig, G.H. & D. McNally, “A search for the Presence of Diffuse Interstellar Bands in the Coma of Comet Hale-Bopp,” MNRAS 304, 951-56 (1999).

Herbig, G.H. & Scott E. Dahm, “On the Be and Ae Stars in NGC 6611,” PASP 113, 195-96 (2001).

Herbig, G.H. & Theodore Simon, “Barnard’s Merope Nebula Revisited: New Observational Results,” Astronomical Journal 121, 3138-48 (2001) [featured in Astronomy Picture of the Day].

Herbig, G.H., C. Aspin, Alan C. Gilmore, Catherine L. Imhoff, & Albert F. Jones, “The 1993-1994 Activity of EX Lupi,” PASP 113, 1547-53 (2001).

Herbig, G.H. & S.E. Dahm, “The Young Cluster IC 5146,” Astronomical Journal 123, 304-27 (2002).

Herbig, G.H., P.P. Petrov, & R. Duemmler, “High-Resolution Spectroscopy of FU Orionis Stars,” Ap.J. 595, 384-411 (2003).

Herbig, G.H., Sean M. Andrews, & S.E. Dahm, “LkHα 101 and the Young Cluster in NGC 1579,” Astronomical Journal 128, 1233-53 (2004).

Reipurth, Bo, Colin Aspin, Tracy Beck, Crystal Brogan, Michael S. Connelley, & G.H. Herbig, “V733 Cep (Persson’s Star): A New FU Orionis Object in Cepheus,” Astronomical Journal 133, 1000-11 (2007).

Herbig, G.H., “EX Lupi: History and Spectroscopy,” Astronomical Journal 133, 2679-83 (2007).

Herbig, G.H., “History and Spectroscopy of EXor Candidates,” Astronomical Journal 135, 637-48 (2008).

Herbig, G.H. & B. Reipurth, “Young Stars and Molecular Clouds in the IC 5146 Region,” in Bo Reipurth, ed., Handbook of Star Forming Regions, Volume I: The Northern Sky. ASP Monograph Publications, Vol. 4 (Astronomical Society of the Pacific, San Francisco, 2008), pp. 108-232.

Herbig, G.H., “The Outflowing Wind Of V1057 Cygni,” Astronomical Journal 138, 448-51 (2009) [erratum].

Herbig, G.H., “The Carbon Mira UV Aurigae and its Companion,” Astronomical Journal 138, 1502-07 (2009).

Reipurth, Bo, George Herbig, & Colin Aspin, “The Multiple Pre-main-sequence System HBC 515 in L1622,” Astronomical Journal 139, 1668-80 (2010).

Dahm, S.E., G.H. Herbig, & Brendan P. Bowler, “The Young Cluster in IC 1274,” Astronomical Journal 143, 3 (2012)

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Other Works: Popularizations, History, etc.

Herbig, George, “Amateur Astronomical Society of Los Angeles,” Popular Astronomy 46, 293 (1938).

Herbig, George H., “Soviet Astronomy and World War II,” PASP 57, 196-201 (1945).

Herbig, George H., “Peculiar Stars,” ASP Leaflets 4, 246-53 (1944) [Leaflet #182].

Herbig, George H., “Stellar Magnitudes,” ASP Leaflets 4, 386-93 (1945) [Leaflet #198].

Herbig, George H., “The Rotation of the Stars,” ASP Leaflets 5, 241-48 (1948) [Leaflet #229].

Herbig, George H., “Some Advances in Observational Astronomy in the Pacific Area During 1949,” ASP Leaflets 5, 407-14 (1948) [Leaflet #250].

Herbig, George H., “Stellar Radial-Velocity Programs of the Lick Observatory,” PASP 63, 191-99 (1951).

Herbig, George H. & C.E. Worley, “Some Basic Astronomical Data,” ASP Leaflets 7, 193-207 (1956) [Leaflet #325].

Herbig, George H., “The Stars of the Orion Nebula,” ASP Leaflets 7, 273-80 (1957) [Leaflet #334].

Herbig, G.H., “Introduction: A Personal and Scientific Appreciation of Otto Struve,” in Herbig, G.H., ed., Spectroscopic Astrophysics. An Assessment of the Contributions of Otto Struve (Univ. of California Press, Berkeley, CA, 1970), pp. 1-6.

Herbig, George H., “Interstellar Smog,” American Scientist 62, 200-07 (1974).

Herbig, G.H., “Alfred Harrison Joy [obituary],” QJRAS 15, 526-31 (1974).

Herbig, G.H., “A Universe Teeming with Planetary Systems — Perhaps,” Mercury 5, 2 (1976).

Henize, K., G.H. Herbig, A.A. Boyarchuk, C.A. Whitney, W. Wenzel, W. Furtig, J. Jurcsik, & L. Szabados, “A Very Rapidly Evolving Star = FG Sagittae = 20H09.7M+20DEG11,” Sky & Telescope 59, 462 (1980).

Herbig, G., “The T Tauri Stars,” J. Am. Assoc. Variable Star Obs. 16, (1), 1-3 (1987).