Zach in Marseille


James Caplan, Marie-Louise Prévot, Marseille



Franz Xaver von Zach ("le baron de Zach") was a frequent visitor to the Marseille Observatory, starting in 1786, when he travelled to the south of France and to Italy with the Duke and Duchess of Saxe-Gotha. They were accompanied on their travels to Hyères and Italy by Jacques Thulis, who was to become director of the Marseille Observatory, and this voyage was apparently of fundamental importance for Thulis' astronomical education. Zach, along with the Duchess, returned to Marseille several times after Thulis had become director. In Zach's "Attraction des Montagnes" (1814), based on geodetic measurements near Marseille, considerable historical material is presented, along with the coordinates of various local observatories including the residences of Zach and the Duchess. The Marseille Observatory collection of Zach letters will be described.

Bibliographical details:

James Caplan, Marie-Louise Prévot: Zach in Marseille. In: Peter Brosche, Wolfgang R. Dick, Oliver Schwarz, Roland Wielen (Eds.): The Message of the Angles - Astrometry from 1798 to 1998. Proceedings of the International Spring Meeting of the Astronomische Gesellschaft, Gotha, May 11-15, 1998. (Acta Historica Astronomiae ; 3). Thun ; Frankfurt am Main : Deutsch, 1998, p. 76-77.