Jean Picard sundial on the pediment of the Sorbonne
|Born||21 July 1620|
La Flèche, Kingdom of France
|Died||12 July 1682 61) (aged|
Paris, Kingdom of France
|Notable work||Mesure de la Terre|
Jean-Félix Picard (21 July 1620 – 12 July 1682) was a French astronomer and priest born in La Flèche, where he studied at the Jesuit Collège Royal Henry-Le-Grand. He died in Paris, France.
France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.
An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or field outside the scope of Earth. They observe astronomical objects such as stars, planets, moons, comets, and galaxies – in either observational or theoretical astronomy. Examples of topics or fields astronomers study include planetary science, solar astronomy, the origin or evolution of stars, or the formation of galaxies. Related but distinct subjects like physical cosmology, which studies the Universe as a whole.
La Flèche is a town and commune in the French department of Sarthe, in the Pays de la Loire region in the Loire Valley. It is the sub-prefecture of the South-Sarthe, the chief district and the chief city of a canton, and the second most populous city of the department. The city is part of the Community of communes of the Pays La Flèche. The inhabitants of the town are called the La Flèchois. It is classified as a country of art and history.
He is principally notable for his accurate measure the size of the Earth, based on a careful survey of one degree of latitude along the Paris Meridian.
Picard was the first person to measure the size of the Earth to a reasonable degree of accuracy in a survey conducted in 1669–70, for which he is honored with a pyramid at Juvisy-sur-Orge. Guided by Maurolycus's methodology and Snellius's mathematics for doing so, Picard achieved this by measuring one degree of latitude along the Paris Meridian using triangulation along thirteen triangles stretching from Paris to the clocktower of Sourdon, near Amiens.
Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbor life. According to radiometric dating and other sources of evidence, Earth formed over 4.5 billion years ago. Earth's gravity interacts with other objects in space, especially the Sun and the Moon, Earth's only natural satellite. Earth revolves around the Sun in 365.26 days, a period known as an Earth year. During this time, Earth rotates about its axis about 366.26 times.
A pyramid is a structure whose outer surfaces are triangular and converge to a single point at the top, making the shape roughly a pyramid in the geometric sense. The base of a pyramid can be trilateral, quadrilateral, or of any polygon shape. As such, a pyramid has at least three outer triangular surfaces. The square pyramid, with a square base and four triangular outer surfaces, is a common version.
Juvisy-sur-Orge is a commune in the Essonne department in Île-de-France in northern France. It is located 18 km south-east of Paris.
His measurements produced a result of 110.46 km for one degree of latitude, which gives a corresponding terrestrial radius of 6328.9 km. Isaac Newton was to use this value in his theory of universal gravitation.
In geography, latitude is a geographic coordinate that specifies the north–south position of a point on the Earth's surface. Latitude is an angle which ranges from 0° at the Equator to 90° at the poles. Lines of constant latitude, or parallels, run east–west as circles parallel to the equator. Latitude is used together with longitude to specify the precise location of features on the surface of the Earth. On its own, the term latitude should be taken to be the geodetic latitude as defined below. Briefly, geodetic latitude at a point is the angle formed by the vector perpendicular to the ellipsoidal surface from that point, and the equatorial plane. Also defined are six auxiliary latitudes which are used in special applications.
In classical geometry, a radius of a circle or sphere is any of the line segments from its center to its perimeter, and in more modern usage, it is also their length. The name comes from the Latin radius, meaning ray but also the spoke of a chariot wheel. The plural of radius can be either radii or the conventional English plural radiuses. The typical abbreviation and mathematical variable name for radius is r. By extension, the diameter d is defined as twice the radius:
Sir Isaac Newton was an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time, and a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, first published in 1687, laid the foundations of classical mechanics. Newton also made seminal contributions to optics, and shares credit with Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz for developing the infinitesimal calculus.
The polar radius has now been measured at just over 6357 km. This was an error only 0.44% less than the modern value. This was another example of advances in astronomy and its tools making possible advances in cartography.
Astronomy is a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena. It applies mathematics, physics, and chemistry in an effort to explain the origin of those objects and phenomena and their evolution. Objects of interest include planets, moons, stars, nebulae, galaxies, and comets; the phenomena also includes supernova explosions, gamma ray bursts, quasars, blazars, pulsars, and cosmic microwave background radiation. More generally, all phenomena that originate outside Earth's atmosphere are within the purview of astronomy. A related but distinct subject is physical cosmology, which is the study of the Universe as a whole.
Cartography is the study and practice of making maps. Combining science, aesthetics, and technique, cartography builds on the premise that reality can be modeled in ways that communicate spatial information effectively.
Picard was the first to attach a telescope with crosswires (developed by William Gascoigne) to a quadrant, and one of the first to use a micrometer screw on his instruments. The quadrant he used to determine the size of the Earth had a radius of 38 inches and was graduated to quarter-minutes. The sextant he used to find the meridian had a radius of six feet, and was equipped with a micrometer to enable minute adjustments. These equipment improvements made the margin of error only ten seconds, as opposed to Tycho Brahe's four minutes of error. This made his measurements 24 times as accurate.
A telescope is an optical instrument that makes distant objects appear magnified by using an arrangement of lenses or curved mirrors and lenses, or various devices used to observe distant objects by their emission, absorption, or reflection of electromagnetic radiation. The first known practical telescopes were refracting telescopes invented in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 17th century, by using glass lenses. They were used for both terrestrial applications and astronomy.
William Gascoigne was an English astronomer, mathematician and maker of scientific instruments from Middleton, Leeds who invented the micrometer. He was one of a group of astronomers in the north of England who followed the astronomy of Johannes Kepler which included, Jeremiah Horrocks and William Crabtree.
A quadrant is an instrument that is used to measure angles up to 90°. Different versions of this instrument could be used to calculate various readings, such as longitude, latitude, and time of day. It was originally proposed by Ptolemy as a better kind of astrolabe. Several different variations of the instrument were later produced by medieval Muslim astronomers.
Picard also travelled to Tycho Brahe's Danish observatory, Uraniborg, in order to assess its position accurately so that Tycho's readings could be compared to others.
Tycho Brahe was a Danish nobleman, astronomer, and writer known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations. He was born in the then Danish peninsula of Scania. Well known in his lifetime as an astronomer, astrologer and alchemist, he has been described as "the first competent mind in modern astronomy to feel ardently the passion for exact empirical facts." His observations were some five times more accurate than the best available observations at the time.
Uraniborg was a Danish astronomical observatory and alchemy laboratory established and operated by Tycho Brahe. It was built c. 1576 – c. 1580 on Hven, an island in the Øresund between Zealand and Scania, which was part of Denmark at the time. It was expanded with the underground facility Stjerneborg on an adjacent site.
Picard collaborated and corresponded with many scientists, including Isaac Newton, Christiaan Huygens, Ole Rømer, Rasmus Bartholin, Johann Hudde,and even his main competitor, Giovanni Cassini, although Cassini was often less than willing to return the gesture. These correspondences led to Picard's contributions to areas of science outside the field of geodesy, such as the aberration of light he observed while in Uraniborg, or his discovery of mercurial phosphorescence upon his observance of the faint glowing of a barometer. This discovery led to Newton's studies of light's visible spectrum.
Picard also developed what became the standard method for measuring the right ascension of a celestial object.In this method, the observer records the time at which the object crosses the observer's meridian. Picard made his observations using the precision pendulum clock that Dutch physicist Christiaan Huygens had recently developed.
Abbé Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille, formerly sometimes spelled de la Caille, was a French astronomer who named 15 out of the 88 constellations. From 1750-1754 he studied the sky at the Cape of Good Hope in present day South Africa. Lacaille observed over 10,000 stars using just a half-inch refractor.
Ole Christensen Rømer was a Danish astronomer who, in 1676, made the first quantitative measurements of the speed of light.
Christiaan Huygens was a Dutch physicist, mathematician, astronomer and inventor, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest scientists of all time and a major figure in the scientific revolution. In physics, Huygens made groundbreaking contributions in optics and mechanics, while as an astronomer he is chiefly known for his studies of the rings of Saturn and the discovery of its moon Titan. As an inventor, he improved the design of the telescope with the invention of the Huygenian eyepiece. His most famous invention, however, was the invention of the pendulum clock in 1656, which was a breakthrough in timekeeping and became the most accurate timekeeper for almost 300 years. Because he was the first to use mathematical formulae to describe the laws of physics, Huygens has been called the first theoretical physicist and the founder of mathematical physics.
A pendulum is a weight suspended from a pivot so that it can swing freely. When a pendulum is displaced sideways from its resting, equilibrium position, it is subject to a restoring force due to gravity that will accelerate it back toward the equilibrium position. When released, the restoring force acting on the pendulum's mass causes it to oscillate about the equilibrium position, swinging back and forth. The time for one complete cycle, a left swing and a right swing, is called the period. The period depends on the length of the pendulum and also to a slight degree on the amplitude, the width of the pendulum's swing.
Pierre Charles Le Monnier was a French astronomer. His name is sometimes given as Lemonnier.
Jacques Cassini was a French astronomer, son of the famous Italian astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini.
César-François Cassini de Thury, also called Cassini III or Cassini de Thury, was a French astronomer and cartographer.
Philippe de La Hire was a French painter, mathematician, astronomer, and architect. According to Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle he was an "academy unto himself".
The Constantinople observatory of Taqi ad-Din, founded in Constantinople by Taqi ad-Din Muhammad ibn Ma'ruf in 1577, was one of the largest astronomical observatories to be built in the Islamic world. However, it only existed for a few years before it was destroyed in 1580.
Barometric light is a name for the light that is emitted by a mercury-filled barometer tube when the tube is shaken. The discovery of this phenomenon in 1675 revealed the possibility of electric lighting.
Gabriel Mouton was a French abbot and scientist. He was a doctor of theology from Lyon, but was also interested in mathematics and astronomy. His 1670 book, the Observationes diametrorum solis et lunae apparentium, proposed a natural standard of length based on the circumference of the Earth, and was decimally divided. It was influential in the adoption of the metric system in 1799.
The Paris meridian is a meridian line running through the Paris Observatory in Paris, France – now longitude 2°20′14.03″ East. It was a long-standing rival to the Greenwich meridian as the prime meridian of the world. The Paris meridian arc or French meridian arc is the name of the meridian arc measured along the Paris meridian. The French meridian arc was important for French cartography, inasmuch as the triangulations of France began with the measurement of the French meridian arc. Moreover, the French meridian arc was important for geodesy as it was one of the meridian arcs which were measured in order to determine the figure of the Earth. The determination of the figure of the earth was a problem of the highest importance in astronomy, inasmuch as the diameter of the earth was the unit to which all celestial distances had to be referred.
Giovanni Domenico Cassini was an Italian mathematician, astronomer and engineer. Cassini was born in Perinaldo, near Imperia, at that time in the County of Nice, part of the Savoyard state. Cassini is known for his work in the fields of astronomy and engineering. Cassini discovered four satellites of the planet Saturn and noted the division of the rings of Saturn; the Cassini Division was named after him. Giovanni Domenico Cassini was also the first of his family to begin work on the project of creating a topographic map of France.
A seconds pendulum is a pendulum whose period is precisely two seconds; one second for a swing in one direction and one second for the return swing, a frequency of 1/2 Hz. A pendulum is a weight suspended from a pivot so that it can swing freely. When a pendulum is displaced sideways from its resting equilibrium position, it is subject to a restoring force due to gravity that will accelerate it back toward the equilibrium position. When released, the restoring force combined with the pendulum's mass causes it to oscillate about the equilibrium position, swinging back and forth. The time for one complete cycle, a left swing and a right swing, is called the period. The period depends on the length of the pendulum, and also to a slight degree on its weight distribution and the amplitude (width) of the pendulum's swing.
A mural instrument is an angle measuring device mounted on or built into a wall. For astronomical purposes, these walls were oriented so they lie precisely on the meridian. A mural instrument that measured angles from 0 to 90 degrees was called a mural quadrant. They were utilized as astronomical devices in ancient Egypt and ancient Greece. Edmond Halley, due to the lack of an assistant and only one vertical wire in his transit, confined himself to the use of a mural quadrant built by George Graham after its erection in 1725 at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Bradley's first observation with that quadrant was made on 15 June 1742.
An aerial telescope is a type of very long focal length refracting telescope, built in the second half of the 17th century, that did not use a tube. Instead, the objective was mounted on a pole, tree, tower, building or other structure on a swivel ball-joint. The observer stood on the ground and held the eyepiece, which was connected to the objective by a string or connecting rod. By holding the string tight and maneuvering the eyepiece, the observer could aim the telescope at objects in the sky. The idea for this type of telescope may have originated in the late 17th century with the Dutch mathematician, astronomer and physicist Christiaan Huygens and his brother Constantijn Huygens, Jr., though it is not clear if they actually invented it.
Rømer's determination of the speed of light was the demonstration in 1676 that light has a finite speed and so does not travel instantaneously. The discovery is usually attributed to Danish astronomer Ole Rømer (1644–1710), who was working at the Royal Observatory in Paris at the time.
The Ulugh Beg Observatory is an observatory in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Built in the 1420s by the Timurid astronomer Ulugh Beg, it is considered by scholars to have been one of the finest observatories in the Islamic world. Some of the famous Islamic astronomers who worked at the observatory include Al-Kashi, Ali Qushji, and Ulugh Beg himself. The observatory was destroyed in 1449 and rediscovered in 1908.
Joseph François Bossert was a French astronomer.