Les Observatoires astronomiques en Italie

An 1863 Report by Otto Wilhelm Struve

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  • 1 INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Florence, Italy
  • 2 INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Florence, Italy

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In the autumn of 1863 Otto Wilhelm Struve, director of the Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, visited most of the observatories in Italy. The report that he wrote on this occasion provides an overview on the conditions of astronomical research in Italy just after the unification of the country. Later Struve sent a French translation of his report to the Italian astronomer Giovan Battista Donati, who used it to promote the construction of the Arcetri Observatory in Florence, which was inaugurated in 1872. We present here a transcription of the French translation of Struve’s report and the transcription of a letter written by him in support of Donati’s project.

  • 5

    Otto Struve, “Otchet o zagranichnom puteshestvii direktora Nikolaevskoy glavnoy observatorii,” Zhurnal Ministerstva narodnogo prosveshcheniya, 1864, 122:177–197.

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  • 23

    Wilhelm Struve, Observationes Astronomicas Institutas in Specula Universitatis Caesareae Dorpatensis, Observationes annorum 1822 et 1823 (Dorpat: Schuenmann, 1825), pp. ii–iv.

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  • 27

    Alberto Meschiari, Simone Bianchi, “The legacy of Giovanni Battista Amici at Arcetri on the 150th anniversary of his death,” Il Colle di Galileo, 2013, 2:9–25.

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  • 32

    Angelo Secchi, Catalogo di 1321 stelle doppie misurate col grande equatoriale di Merz all’Osservatorio del Collegio Romano e confrontate colle misure anteriori (Roma: Tipografia delle belle arti, 1860).

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  • 33

    Lorenzo Respighi, “Sulle osservazioni circumzenitali delle stelle,” Memorie dell’Accademia delle scienze dell’Istituto di Bologna, Serie II, 1862, 2:201–223; “Sulla latitudine geografica dell’Osservatorio di Bologna,” ibid.: 397–436.

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  • 37

    Wilhelm Struve, Catalogue de 514 étoiles doubles et multiples découvertes sur l’hémisphère céleste boréal par la grande lunette de l’Observatoire central de Poulkova et Catalogue de 256 étoiles doubles principales ou la distance des composantes est de 32 secondes à 2 minutes et qui se trouvent sur l’hémisphère boréal (St.-Pétersbourg: Impr. de l’Académie impériale des sciences, 1843).

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  • 41

    Giovanni Battista Donati, “Intorno alle strie degli spettri stellari,” Nuovo Cimento, 1862, 15:292–304.

  • 42

    Angelo Secchi, “Sugli spettri prismatici della luce dei corpi celesti,” Bollettino meteorologico dell’Osservatorio del Collegio Romano, 1863, 2:108–110,114–116,124–126.

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  • 56

    Ottavio Andreucci, Del così detto Istituto Ximeniano del nuovo Osservatorio fiorentino e del loro avvenire. Osservazioni storiche e voto (Firenze: Eredi Botta, 1868). His pamphlet was sent to the Ministry of Public Education on March 10, 1868 (Archive of the Museo Galileo of Florence, ARMU Affari 79, file 29).

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  • 58

    Giovan Battista Donati, “Della prossima eclisse solare e delle condizioni presenti dell’astronomia pratica in Italia,” La Nazione, 25/6/1868.

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  • 63

    Angelo Messedaglia, Il bilancio della pubblica istruzione del Regno d’Italia per l’anno 1869. Relazione alla Camera dei Deputati del deputato Prof. Angelo Messedaglia a nome della Commissione generale del bilancio (Milano: Tipografia e Litografia degli Ingegneri, 1869).

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  • 69

    Donati to Struve, Florence, October 2, 1872, Archive of the Russian Academy of Science, St. Petersburg branch, F.286 Op. 1. D.236, 21.

  • 70

    Struve to Donati, Paris, October 8, 1872, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze, Carteggi Vari, 326, 11. The English astronomer was a close friend of both Wilhelm and Otto Struve and godfather to Otto’s eldest son, see Batten, Resolute and Undertaking Characters, (cit. note 1), pp. 90–91.

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