Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Chappe d’Auteroche, Jean-Baptiste

  • Richard Baum
Reference work entry

BornMauriac, (Cantal), France, 23 March 1728

DiedSan José del Cabo, Mexico, 1 August 1769

L’ Abbé Jean-Baptiste Chappe, who has been called “A Pathfinder for Astronomy,” is known for his strenuous efforts to observe the transits of Venus in 1761 and 1769. He was the son of Jean Chappe, Baron d’Auteroche, and as a child showed great aptitude for mathematics and for drawing plans.

Jean-Baptiste was educated at the Jesuit college at Mauriac, and later attended the Collège de Louis-le-Grand in Paris, where the Cartesian Dom Germain encouraged Chappe’s interests and inspired his passion for astronomy. Having been introduced to  Jacques Cassini (then director of the Paris Observatory in all but name) by Père de la Tour, principal of the college, Chappe was instructed to draw up plans of the royal palaces and to assist with the Carte de France. It was also at Cassini’s suggestion that he translated into French part of  Edmond Halley’s recently published tables of the Sun and the Moon....

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Selected References

  1. Armitage, Angus (1954). “Chappe d’Auteroche: A Pathfinder for Astronomy.” Annals of Science 10: 277–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Nunis, Doyce B., Jr., (ed.) (1982). The 1769 Transit of Venus: The Baja California Observations of Jean-Baptiste Chappe d’Auteroche, Vicente de Doz, and Joaquín Velázquez Cárdenas de León. Los Angeles: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.Google Scholar
  3. Woolf, Harry (1959). The Transits of Venus: A Study of Eighteenth-Century Science. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chester, County ChesterUK