Wilhelm Wolff Beer (January 14, 1797 – March 27, 1850) was a banker in Berlin, Germany and brother of Giacomo Meyerbeer.
Beer became famous by his hobby, astronomy. He built a private observatory with a 9,5 cm refractor in Berlin, Tiergarten. Together with Johann Heinrich Mädler he produced the first exact map of the Moon in 1834-1836 (Mappa Selenographica) and in 1837 a description of the moon (Der Mond nach seinen kosmischen und individuellen Verhältnissen). Both were the best descriptions of the moon for many decades.
Beer and Mädler showed 1830 the first globe of the planet Mars. In 1839 they made a map of the Mars and calculated the rotation period of the red planet with 24h 37 min 22.7 s, only 0.1 s different from the period length known today.
Beer crater on Mars is named in Wilhelm Beer's honor and lies near Mädler crater. There is also a Beer crater on the Moon.
Economy, publicistics, social and political ambitions
Wilhelm Wolff Beer was multi talented. Besides his hobby astronomy, he worked for the start of the railway system in Prussia. He promoted the Jewish community in Berlin. In his last decade of life, he worked as a writer and politician. In 1849 he was elected as MP of the first chamber of the prussian parliament.