Schiaparelli, Giovanni Virginio

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Schiaparelli, Giovanni Virginio

(jōvän`nē vērjē`nyō skyäpärĕl`lē), 1835–1910, Italian astronomer. He was director (1862–1900) of the Brera Observatory, Milan. He is especially noted for having detected (1877) on the surface of the planet Mars the markings that he called canali (channels), later misinterpreted as "canals." He showed that meteor swarms travel through space in cometary orbits and suggested that Mercury and Venus rotate on their axes. He discovered the asteroid Hesperia (1861) and several double stars.

Schiaparelli, Giovanni Virginio


Born Mar. 14, 1835, in Savigliano, Piedmont; died July 4, 1910, in Milan. Italian astronomer.

Schiaparelli graduated from the University of Turin in 1854. In 1859 and 1860 he served at the Pulkovo Observatory, where he studied practical astronomy and observation methods. In 1860 he became an assistant at the Brera Observatory in Milan and from 1862 to 1900 served as the observatory’s director.

Schiaparelli developed a theory of meteors; he demonstrated the connection between meteors and comets by establishing in 1866 that the orbits of the Perseid meteor shower and Comet 1862 III coincided, as did those of the Leonids and Comet 1866 I. Schiaparelli is also known for his research on the planet Mars. In 1877 he observed a network of fine, straight lines on Mars, which he called canali (channels). This served as the basis for the hypothesis that held these “canals” to be of artificial construction. The hypothesis now has no supporters. Schiaparelli spent many years observing Mercury and Venus. He determined that Mercury rotates once around its axis in the same time it takes to make one revolution around the sun. He also worked in the field of the history of astronomy, did research on binary stars, and worked in mathematics and meteorology.


“Note e riflessioni intorno alla teoria astronomica della stelle cadenti.” Memorie di matematica e difisica della Societa Italiana delle scienze, 1867, vol. 1, PP. 153–284.
Osservazioni astronomiche e fisiche sull’ assé di rotazione e sulla topografia del Pianeta Marte. (Atti della R. Academia dei Lincei.) Rome, 1878–1910.
References in periodicals archive ?
MARS MAP Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli explored the Martian surface through his telescope in the latter decades of the 1800s, naming "continents," "seas" and other features.
Giovanni Schiaparelli and William Denning made the first reliable observations in 1881 and 1882 (S&T: June 2000, page 109).
Lowell and Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli made numerous drawings of these controversial surface features and interpreted them to indicate intelligent life (March issue, page 114).
6-inch Merz refractor at Brera Observatory in Milan, Giovanni Schiaparelli scrutinized the Martian surface intently that year with the intention of drawing up a new and better map.
Giovanni Schiaparelli, the greatest Mars observer of the 19th century, first noticed this narrow stretch of "land" in 1877 and included it in his famous map of that year.
The first telescopic view of one of the Tharsis shield volcanoes is generally credited to the outstanding 19th-century student of Mars, Giovanni Schiaparelli.
As in the case of his Martian studies, he followed in the footsteps of Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, whom he greatly admired.
But the book also includes Giovanni Schiaparelli and Percival Lowell about possible life on Mars.
It is a little-known fact that the greatest 19th-century observer of Mars, the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli, suffered from red- green colorblindness.
In the last quarter of the 19th century, the imagery of classical mythology and biblical lore prompted astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli to provide features on Mars with colorful names.
In the late 19th century Giovanni Schiaparelli drew maps of what he called "canali" (channels) crisscrossing Mars's surface.