Donati, Giovanni Battista


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Donati, Giovanni Battista

(jōvän`nē bät-tēs`tä dōnä`tē), 1826–73, Italian astronomer, b. Pisa. Serving as director of the Florence Observatory from 1864, he was a pioneer in the spectroscopic study of the stars and the sun. Donati was the first to obtain and analyze the spectrum of a comet, concluding that the composition of comets is, at least in part, gaseous. He discovered (1854–64) six new comets, among them Donati's comet, which he first saw on June 2, 1858.

Donati, Giovanni Battista

 

Born Dec. 16, 1826, in Pisa; died Sept. 20, 1873, in Florence. Italian astronomer.

Donati studied at the University of Pisa and obtained the post of assistant at the observatory in Florence. He observed numerous comets and was the first to discover the great comet of 1858, which has been named after him. In 1864 he was appointed director of the observatory. Donati is known for his spectroscopic studies of comets. He founded the Arcetri Astrophysical Observatory near Florence in 1872.