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Jean-Dominique Cassini takes over the Observatory

Louis XIV and Colbert wished to attract the best foreign specialists to France to develop science, commerce and industry. In the case of astronomy, Giovanni-Domenico Cassini (1625-1712), from Bologna, Italy, was a great specialist on the motions of Jupiter’s satellites. In effect, the Observatory hoped to use these satellites as aids to determine one’s longitude on the sea and on land, a crucial problem for cartography and navigation. Cassini accepted the invitation, Gallicised his first names into Jean-Dominique, was naturalized and in 1673 married Geneviève de Laistre. They had a daughter and two sons. One of the sons, Jacques, became in turn director of the Observatory.

caption : Cassini’s portrait - copyright : Observatoire de Paris