Annibale de Gasparis

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Annibale De Gasparis
Ritratto di Annibale de Gasparis.jpg
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 (1849-1853)
Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1851)
Scientific career
FieldsMathematics, Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics
InstitutionsAstronomical Observatory of Naples
Firma di Annibale De Gasparis.jpg

Annibale de Gasparis (9 November 1819, Bugnara[1] – 21 March 1892, Naples; Italian pronunciation: [anˈniːbale de ˈɡasparis]) was an Italian astronomer, born in Bugnara to parents 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. For this studies he earned, as early as 1846, the honorary degree in mathematics by the University of Naples.

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 the Observatory Capocci was dismissed as director 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.[2]

After the death of Capocci, 6 January 1864, he was appointed as director of the Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte in Naples.[3] Due to his illness he left the observatory in 1889 going to live in a country house not far from the Observatory.

He and others occasionally wrote his name as Annibal de Gasparis.[4]

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

On 20 January 1861 he was appointed Senator of the Kingdom of Italy for his high scientific merits.[5]

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.[3]


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.[3][6]

Minor planets discovered: 9 [7]
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


  1. ^ Hockey, Thomas (2009). The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers. Springer Publishing. ISBN 978-0-387-31022-0. Retrieved 22 August 2012.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ a b c Schmadel, Lutz D. (2007). "(4279) de Gasparis". Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – (4279) De Gasparis. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 367. doi:10.1007/978-3-540-29925-7_4239. ISBN 978-3-540-00238-3.
  4. ^ Letter from de Gasparis Archived 25 November 2015 at the Wayback Machine to Benjamin Valz announcing the discovery of 10 Hygiea in 1849
  5. ^ Gargano, Mauro. "Annibale de Gasparis". Polvere di Stelle: the cultural heritage of Italian astronomy.
  6. ^ "14 Irene". Minor Planet Center. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
  7. ^ "Minor Planet Discoverers (by number)". Minor Planet Center. 23 May 2016. Retrieved 16 June 2016.