Pierre François Andé Méchain

Méchain, Pierre François Andé


Born Aug. 16, 1744, in Laon; died Sept. 20, 1804, in Castellon de la Plana, Spain. French astronomer and geodesist. Member of the Paris Academy of Sciences (1782).

In 1787, Méchain participated in calculating the difference between the longitudes of Paris and Greenwich. Together with J. Delambre, he carried out studies between 1792 and 1797 to measure the meridian arc between Dunkirk and Barcelona, which were undertaken to establish a new measure of length, the meter. Méchain also discovered 12 comets, including the periodic comet now called Encke’s comet.