Paris: French astrophysicist Andre Brahic, the discoverer of planet Neptune's rings, is no more. He passed away at the age of 73 on Sunday in Paris.
Brahic was an expert on the solar system and launched a program in 1984, along with US astronomer William Hubbard, which led to the breakthrough.
French President Francois Hollande mourned Brahic's death through a statement which hailed him as a great mind “who knew how to make simple the mysteries of the sky”.
Hollande also described him as a great teacher "whose books and comments allowed us to voyage through space".
In the 1980s, Brahic became a specialist in exploring our solar system with the help of the NASA Voyager and later US-Europe Cassini unmanned missions, which continue to this day.
He was an astrophysicist at the Commission for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies (CEA) and a professor at the University of Paris.
It was his interest in Saturn and its rings which led him to launch his Neptune research.
Neptune's outermost ring is divided into three arcs to which Brahic gave the names Liberte, Fraternite and Egalite.
In 1990 an asteroid, number 3488, was named Brahic in his honour.
Keen on bringing astrophysics to a wider public, Brahic wrote several books.
His last book "Worlds Elsewhere; Are We Alone" was published last year.
His publisher, Odile Jacob, broke the news of his death.
(With PTI inputs)