Famous Italian Astronomers

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 1 
Galileo Galilei
(Known as “Father” of Observational Astronomy who Invented the ‘Thermoscope’ and Various Military Compasses)
Galileo Galilei
120
Birthdate: February 15, 1564
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pisa, Italy
Died: January 8, 1642

An Italian astronomer, engineer, and physicist, Galileo Galilei is widely regarded as the father of observational astronomy, the father of the scientific method, the father of modern physics, and the father of modern science. He is credited with popularizing the telescope, which changed the course of history.

 2 
Archimedes
(One of the Leading Scientists in Classical Antiquity and the Greatest Mathematician of Ancient History)
Archimedes
5
Birthdate: 0287 AD
Birthplace: Syracuse, Italy
Died: 0212 AD
Greek mathematician, physicist, and astronomer Archimedes is remembered for his contribution to mathematics, especially geometry. He laid down theorems related to the area of a circle, and the area and volume of a sphere, and reached an accurate value of pi. He also invented machines such as the screw pump.
 3 
Joseph Louis Lagrange
(Mathematician)
Joseph Louis Lagrange
5
Birthdate: January 25, 1736
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Turin, Italy
Died: April 10, 1813

Joseph Louis Lagrange was an Italian mathematician and astronomer who made significant contributions to the fields of number theory, analysis, and both classical and celestial mechanics. He served as the director of mathematics at the Prussian Academy of Sciences in Berlin for over 20 years. He later moved to France and became a member of the French Academy of Sciences. 

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 4 
Giovanni Domenico Cassini
(Astronomer and Mathematician)
Giovanni Domenico Cassini
5
Birthdate: June 8, 1625
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Perinaldo, Italy
Died: September 14, 1712
Italian-French mathematician and astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini is best remembered for his discovery of four moons of Saturn, the computation of Jupiter’s rotational period, and the observation of the Cassini Division, or the gap between Saturn’s rings. King Louis XIV made him a member of the Académie des Sciences
 5 
Nicholas of Cusa
(Mathematician, Philosopher)
Nicholas of Cusa
4
Birthdate: 1401 AD
Birthplace: Bernkastel-Kues, Germany
Died: August 11, 1464

Nicholas of Cusa was a German mathematician, astronomer, jurist, theologian, and philosopher. One of the first supporters of Renaissance humanism in Germany, Nicholas of Cusa made significant political and spiritual contributions in European history. He is remembered for his efforts to reform the universal and Roman Church.

 6 
Giovanni Schiaparelli
(Italian Astronomer and Science Historian)
Giovanni Schiaparelli
3
Birthdate: March 14, 1835
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Savigliano, Italy
Died: July 4, 1910

Giovanni Schiaparelli made headlines when he discovered the canals of Mars, suggesting the existence of intelligent life forms on the planet. He also discovered the asteroid named Hesperia and was associated with the Brera Observatory in Milan for more than 40 years. He had also been a senator of Italy.

 7 
Riccardo Giacconi
(Astrophysicist)
Riccardo Giacconi
3
Birthdate: October 6, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Genoa
Nobel Prize-winning physicist Riccardo Giacconi was a pioneer in the field of X-ray astronomy. Born in Italy, he later went to the U.S. to pursue his research as a Fulbright scholar. He was the man behind the launch of the Einstein Observatory and the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
 8 
Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
(Physicist, Mathematician, Astronomer, Historian of mathematics, Entomologist)
Giovanni Alfonso Borelli
3
Birthdate: January 28, 1608
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Naples
Died: December 31, 1679

While he matriculated in math and taught the subject later, Giovanni Alfonso Borelli also made pioneering discoveries as a physicist and physiologist. With works such as De Motu Animalium, he revolutionized the field of biomechanics, explaining muscular movements with the help of statics and dynamics.

 9 
Giuseppe Piazzi
(Astronomer, University teacher, Mathematician)
Giuseppe Piazzi
3
Birthdate: July 16, 1746
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Ponte in Valtellina
Died: July 22, 1826

Italian Theatine priest, astronomer and mathematician Giuseppe Piazzi discovered and identified the first asteroid Ceres at Palermo Astronomical Observatory that he established in Palermo, Sicily. He first demonstrated the large proper motion of the binary star system 61 Cygni in the constellation Cygnus. He also supervised compilation of the Palermo Catalogue of stars and completion of the Capodimonte (Naples) Observatory.

 10 
Gerard of Cremona
(Italian scholar)
Gerard of Cremona
2
Birthdate: 1114 AD
Birthplace: Cremona, Italy
Died: 1187 AD

Considered as the most important translator among the Toledo School of Translators, Italian translator Gerard of Cremona translated many major scientific books from Arabic and Greek to Latin. Notable works of Cremona includes translating Aristotle's On the Heavens, Archimedes' On the Measurement of the Circle, al-Khwarizmi's On Algebra and Almucabala, Euclid's Elements of Geometry and most famously Ptolemy's Almagest.

 11 
Angelo Secchi
(Italian Jesuit Priest and Astrophysicist, Who Made the First Survey of the Spectra of Stars)
Angelo Secchi
2
Birthdate: June 28, 1818
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Reggio Emilia, Italy
Died: February 26, 1878

A pioneer in astronomical spectroscopy, Italian Jesuit priest and astronomer Angelo Secchi was among the first scientists who authoritatively stated that the Sun is a star. Notable contributions of Secchi, who served as director of the observatory at the Roman College for nearly three decades, includes discovering three comets and solar spicules; and inventing Secchi disk, heliospectrograph and telespectroscope.

 12 
Aloysius Lilius
(Astronomer)
Aloysius Lilius
3
Birthdate: 1510 AD
Birthplace: Cirò, Calabria, Italy
Died: 1576 AD

Aloysius Lilius, also known as Luigi Lilio, is best remembered as the main author of the Gregorian Calendar. Well-versed in medicine and astronomy, Lilius hailed from Calabria, Italy, though not much is known about his life. His calendar was presented to Pope Gregory XIII by his brother Antonio.

 13 
Annibale de Gasparis
1
Birthdate: November 9, 1819
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bugnara
Died: March 21, 1892

Recipient of the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society, noted Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis is remembered for his discovery of asteroids and contributions in the field of theoretical astronomy. Starting from asteroid Hygiea, which he named Igea Borbonica, Gasparis discovered nine asteroids between 1849 and 1865 and also served as director of the Astronomical Observatory of Capodimonte.

 14 
Giovanni Battista Amici
(Italian Astronomer, Microscopist, and Botanist Best Known for Invention of the 'Achromatic Lens')
Giovanni Battista Amici
1
Birthdate: March 25, 1786
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Modena, Italy
Died: April 10, 1863

Italian astronomer, microscopist and botanist Giovanni Battista Amici is best-remembered for effecting significant improvements in mirrors of reflecting telescopes and development of microscope. His subjects of studies included the satellites of Jupiter and double stars in astronomy and infusoria and fructification of plants in biology. He invented dipleidoscope and direct vision prism and was the first to discover pollen tubes.

 15 
Niccolò Zucchi
(Italian Astronomer and Physicist Who Designed One of the Earliest Reflecting Telescopes)
Niccolò Zucchi
2
Birthdate: December 6, 1586
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Parma, Italy
Died: May 21, 1670

Italian Jesuit, astronomer, and physicist Niccolò Zucchi, who reported spots on Mars, may have been, along with fellow Jesuit Daniello Bartoli, the first who spotted belts on planet Jupiter. Zucchi showed that phosphors generate rather than store light in his book Optica philosophia experimentis et ratione a fundamentis constituta, which includes probably the earliest known elucidation of a reflecting telescope.  

 16 
Ernst Wilhelm Leberecht Tempel
1
Birthdate: December 4, 1821
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Niedercunnersdorf
Died: March 16, 1889

Ernst Wilhelm Leberecht Tempel was a German astronomer known for his discovery or co-discovery of numerous comets,  including Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle. He worked in Marseille for many years before moving to Italy after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War. He received the Lalande Prize in 1861 and the Prix Valz in 1880. The main-belt asteroid 3808 Tempel is named after him. 

 17 
Giovanni Battista Donati
0
Birthdate: December 16, 1826
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Pisa, Italy
Died: September 20, 1873

Giovanni Battista Donati was an Italian astronomer considered a pioneer in the spectroscopic study of the stars, the Sun, and comets. He worked in the Observatory of Florence for several years, becoming its director in 1864. He published a memoir in which he discussed the feasibility of a physical classification of the stars. He discovered the spectacular Comet Donati. 

 18 
Paolo Frisi
(Italian Mathematician and Astronomer Best Known for His Work in Hydraulics)
Paolo Frisi
0
Birthdate: April 13, 1728
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Melegnano, Italy
Died: November 22, 1784

Italian physicist, mathematician, and astronomer Paolo Frisi is best remembered for his work on hydraulics, expressed through his books such as A Treatise on Rivers and Torrents. His interpretation of the works of eminent scientists such as Galileo and Newton, too, are considered immensely valuable to the scientific community.

 19 
Giuseppe Campani
0
Birthdate: 1635 AD
Birthplace: Sant'Anatolia di Narco, Italy
Died: July 28, 1715

Giuseppe Campani  was an Italian optician and astronomer. He was a highly proficient maker of optical instruments and was counted amongst the best in his profession in his time. He made several long-focus lenses for the astronomer Giovanni Domenico Cassini on the orders of King Louis XIV of France. As an astronomer, Campani made many observations himself. 

 20 
Domenico Guglielmini
(Italian Mathematician, Astronomer and Physician)
Domenico Guglielmini
0
Birthdate: September 27, 1655
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: July 27, 1710

Domenico Guglielmini is regarded as the pioneer of the Italian school of hydraulics, though he initially worked on astronomy. Apart from being a professor of hydrometry and mathematics, he was also a part-time physician, but eventually quit his research on hydraulics to focus on medicine full-time.