Philippe Loys de Chéseaux (May 4, 1718 - November 30, 1751)
A wealthy Swiss landowner, mathematician and astronomer, De Chéseaux
lived near Lausanne, where he was born on May 4, 1718. He had a private
observatory with a simple 14-feet F.L. refractor, a 2-feet F.L. Gregorian
reflector, as well as a quadrant which could measure to an acuracy of 15
minutes of arc.
He is famous for his observations of the comet he discovered (on December 13,
1743) and observed 1743 until March 1744, although this had been first
discovered (on December 9) by Dirk Klinkenberg
(comet 1743 Klinkenberg or Klinkenberg-De Chéseaux, C/1743 X1, 1744).
De Chéseaux describes this comet in depth, which became brighter than
Jupiter and at one time exhibited no less than six tails.
He originally discovered another comet two years later, on August 13, 1746:
Comet 1746 De Chéseaux (C/1746 P1, 1747).
In 1745 and 1746, De Chéseaux compiled a
list of 21 nebulous objects,
of which he had originally discovered 8 objects:
M35 (this one might have seen before
by John Bevis in England),
Moreover, he independently re-discovered
and M22 (No. 17).
De Chéseaux sent this list to his grandfather, Reaumur, in Paris, and
it was read by Reaumur at a meeting of the French Academy of Sciences on
August 6, 1746 and mentioned by Le Gentil (1759),
but then stayed unpublished and more or less forgotten until
recovered and published it within a larger paper in 1884
De Chéseaux was among the first to formulate Olbers' paradox.
De Chéseaux did not grow very old; he died on November 30, 1751 at age
of only 33.
- Guillaume Bigourdan, 1892.
Observations de Nebuleuses et d'amas stellaires
(Observations of Nebulae and Star Clusters).
Annales de l'Observatoire de Paris. Observations 1884.
Paris, Gauthier-Villars, pp. G.1-G.103
- Le Gentil, 1759.
Remarques sur les Étoiles Nebuleuses.
Mémoires de l'Académie Royale des Sciences.
[Remarks on the Nebulous Stars. Memoirs of the Royal Academy of Sciences.
For the year 1759.] Paris, 1763.
- Kenneth Glyn Jones, 1969.
The Search for the Nebulae -- V.
Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Vol. 79, No. 2 (1969),
p. 105-112. Section on De Chéseaux: p. 105-108.
Reprinted in: The Search for the Nebulae. Chalfont St. Giles, 1975.
- Kenneth Glyn Jones, 1991.
Messier's Nebulae and Star Clusters. 2nd ed, Cambridge University Press,
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