Paris Observatory

Paris Observatory

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Paris Observatory under construction, with astronomers using a telescope, coloured artwork. This observatory, in Paris, France, was funded by King Louis XIV and built during the period 1667 to 1672. Its first director was the Italian astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini (1625-1712), who came to Paris in 1669. Cassini quarrelled with the Observatory's architect, Claude Perrault, arguing for a more practical design. While working at the observatory, Cassini discovered four satellites of Saturn, and a division in Saturn's rings. He also measured the distance to Mars, allowing the Earth-Sun distance to be calculated.

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