Giovanni Domenico Cassini

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Cassini, Giovanni Domenico


(Jean Dominique Cas-sini). Born June 8, 1625, in Perinaldo; died Sept. 14, 1712, in Paris. Astronomer. An Italian by birth. Member of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1669). Director of the Paris Observatory (from 1669).

Cassini discovered the rotation of Jupiter (1665) and Mars (1666), four new satillites of Saturn (1671–84), and the division of Saturn’s rings into an inner ring and an outer ring by a dark gap (the Cassini division). He also investigated the optical liberation of the moon. Cassini made the first reliable determination of the sun’s parallax from joint observations of Mars with the French astronomer J. Richer (9.5“-10.0”; modern value, 8.8”).

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1712 Giovanni Domenico Cassini died, aged 87; an Italian-born French astronomer; appointed the first French Astronomer Royal; discovered four satellites of Saturn and correctly explained the unusual variability of Iapetus; noticed a division in Saturn's rings, now known as Cassini's division.
Astronomer-craftsmen like Giambattista Riccioli, Giovanni Domenico Cassini, and their colleagues revamped older meridiane or built splendid new ones to exacting specifications in San Petronio (Bologna) and Saint Sulpice (Paris), and Santa Maria degli Angeli (Rome), among several others.
After years spent in a frustrating search, renowned astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini must have wondered if he would die before seeing a legendary sunspot grace the heavens again.