Smyth, Charles Piazzi
BornNaples, (Italy), 3 January 1819
DiedRipon, (North Yorkshire), England, 21 February 1900
Charles Smyth, Astronomer Royal for Scotland between 1845 and 1888, was the first astronomer to argue for the importance of high-altitude observing sites and did pioneering work in solar spectroscopy.
The son of an amateur astronomer and Royal Navy officer, captain William Smyth and Annarella (née Warrington) Smyth, Charles Piazzi’s second name honored his godfather, the distinguished Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi. After retiring in 1824, W. H. Smyth joined the recently formed Astronomical Society of London (later the Royal Astronomical Society [RAS]), and settled in Bedford, England. There he built the well-equipped Bedford Observatory, where the young Charles learned practical astronomy. After attending the Bedford Grammar School, Charles traveled, at the age of 16, to the Cape Observatory, South Africa, to become assistant to Thomas Maclear.
Smyth stayed 10 years at the Cape doing...
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