Annibale de Gasparis

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Annibale de Gasparis
Annibale de Gasparis
Born(1819-11-09)9 November 1819
Died21 March 1892(1892-03-21) (aged 72)
Alma materUniversity of Naples
Known forDiscovery of asteroids
AwardsLalande Prize (1849–53)
Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1851)
Scientific career
FieldsMathematics, astronomy, celestial mechanics
InstitutionsAstronomical Observatory of Capodimonte, University of Naples Federico II

Annibale de Gasparis (Italian pronunciation: [anˈniːbale de ˈɡasparis]; 9 November 1819 – 21 March 1892) was an Italian astronomer, known for discovering asteroids and his contributions to theoretical astronomy.


De Gasparis was born in 1819 in Bugnara to Angelo de Gasparis and Eleonora Angelantoni [1] originally from Tocco da Casauria. Son of a doctor, he studied in the seminars of Sulmona and Chieti, becoming passionate of classic novels and learning mathematics as a self-taught person. In 1838 he arrived in Naples to study engineering at the School of Bridges and Roads, today's Engineering faculty of Naples University, and the following year he was accepted as a student at the Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte by the director Ernesto Capocci. He studied mathematics and celestial mechanics and in 1845 he published his first scientific paper on the orbit of the minor planet Vesta.[2] For this studies he earned, as early as 1846, the honorary degree in mathematics by the University of Naples.[3]

In 1848 he participated in the liberal movements, he avoided the Bourbon repression dedicating to the King Ferdinand II his first discovery: the asteroid Hygiea, made on 12 April 1849 with the equatorial telescope of Reichenbach & Utzschneider, giving it the name of Igea Borbonica. In 1850, Capocci was dismissed as director of the observatory due to his participation in the liberal revolts. De Gasparis refused to assume the position of observatory director in deference to his mentor and friend Capocci.[4]

In 1858 he was appointed professor of astronomy in Naples University.[3]

After the death of Capocci, 6 January 1864, he was appointed as director of the Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte in Naples.[5] Due to his illness he left the observatory in 1889 going to live in a country house not far from the Observatory.

De Gasparis married Giuseppina Russo in 1848, and they had 9 children together, 3 of which died in infancy.[3]

De Gasparis published more than 200 scientific papers on mathematics, celestial mechanics, astronomy and meteorology.[3]

He and others occasionally wrote his name as Annibal de Gasparis.[6]


Annibale de Gasparis discovered visually the following nine asteroids. In addition, he also independently discovered 14 Irene, which discovery was, however, credited to the English astronomer John Russell Hind.[5][7]

Minor planets discovered: 9 [8]
10 Hygiea 12 April 1849
11 Parthenope 11 May 1850
13 Egeria 2 November 1850
15 Eunomia 29 July 1851
16 Psyche 17 March 1852
20 Massalia 19 September 1852
24 Themis 5 April 1853
63 Ausonia 10 February 1861
83 Beatrix 26 April 1865

Honors and awards[edit]

He won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1851.[9] He was also awarded the Lalande Prize from 1849 to 1853.[10]

On 20 January 1861 he was appointed Senator of the Kingdom of Italy for his high scientific merits.[11]

Recipient of the Order of the Red Eagle, and of the Order of the Rose.[12]

The main-belt asteroid 4279 De Gasparis as well as the 30-kilometer lunar crater de Gasparis and the nearby 93-kilometer long fracture Rimae de Gasparis, are named in his honour.[5]


  1. ^ a b Hockey, Thomas (2009). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. Springer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-387-31022-0. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  2. ^ Gargano, Mauro; Palma, Paolo (2020). "Annibale de Gasparis: il giardiniere del cielo di Napoli". Giornale di Astronomia. 46 (3): 4–13. doi:10.19272/202008803001. ISSN 0390-1106.
  3. ^ a b c d Virginia Trimble; Thomas R. Williams; Katherine Bracher; Richard Jarrell; Jordan D. Marché; F. Jamil Ragep (2007). Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers - Annibale De Gasparis. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 408. ISBN 978-0-387-30400-7.
  4. ^ Gargano, Mauro (2011). "Ausonia: il pianetino dell'Unità d'Italia". Giornale di Astronomia (in Italian). 37 (4): 10–20. doi:10.1400/175056. ISSN 1724-0468.
  5. ^ a b c Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). "(4279) de Gasparis". Dictionary of Minor Planet Names. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 367. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-29925-7_4239. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3.
  6. ^ Letter from de Gasparis Archived 25 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine to Benjamin Valz announcing the discovery of 10 Hygiea in 1849
  7. ^ "14 Irene". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  8. ^ "Minor Planet Discoverers (by number)". Minor Planet Center. 23 May 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Gold Medal Winners" (PDF). RAS. 2019. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  10. ^ A. Gaudin (Paris) (10 March 1854). "Academie des Sciences". La Lumière. Société héliographique (France).
  11. ^ Gargano, Mauro (2012). "Annibale de Gasparis". Polvere di Stelle: the cultural heritage of Italian astronomy. Retrieved 9 July 2022.
  12. ^ "Annibale De Gasparis, Senato della Repubblica". Retrieved 17 July 2019.

External links[edit]

  • Airy, G. B. (1851). "An Address delivered at the Annual General Meeting of the Society, February 15, 1851, on presenting the Honorary medal to Dr. Annibale de Gasparis". Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society. 20: 226–230. Bibcode:1851MmRAS..20..226A.