Hellenica World

Asteroids discovered: 1
69 Hesperia April 26, 1861

Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli (March 14, 1835July 4, 1910) was an Italian astronomer. He studied at the University of Turin and Berlin Observatory and worked for over forty years at Brera Observatory.

He observed objects in the solar system, and after observing Mars he named the "seas" and "continents". Beginning in 1877 he also believed he had observed long straight features he called canali in Italian, meaning "channels" but mistranslated as "canals". Many decades later these canals of Mars were definitively shown to be an optical illusion. He was also the first to demonstrate that the Perseid and Leonid meteor showers were associated with comets.

His niece Elsa Schiaparelli became a famed couturiere.

Honors and Awards


* Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1872), "on cometary and meteoroid stream orbits"

* Bruce Medal (1902)

Named after him

* Asteroid 4062 Schiaparelli

* Schiaparelli crater on the Moon

* Schiaparelli crater on Mars


William Lassell. “Address Delivered by the President, William Lassell, Esq., on presenting the Gold Medal of the Society to Signor Schiaparelli.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 32 (1872): 194–199 * "Schiaparelli, Giovanni Virginio (1835-1910)" - biography from http://www.daviddarling.info/

William Sheehan. Planets and Perception: Telescopic Views and Interpretations, 1609–1909. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. (1988)

G. V. Schiaparelli and Luigi Gabba. Le più belle pagine di astronomia popolare. Milan: U. Hoepli. (1925)


Astronomy Encyclopedia

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