Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 1750-1751

Date:

Porro de’ Somenzi, Francesco

BornCremona, Italy, 5 May 1861

DiedGenoa, Italy, 16 February 1937

Francesco Porro de’ Somenzi was an Italian astronomer and prolific author of textbooks. He is perhaps best known for his reduction of the star catalogue of Giuseppe Piazzi.

Francesco’s parents were Giovanni Porro and Maria Bonali. He graduated in physics at Pavia in 1882 and, in the same year, became a student astronomer at the Brera Observatory (Milan), directed by Giovanni Schiaparelli. In 1885, he was employed as an astronomer at Turin Observatory, where, after the death of director Alessandro Dorna (1825–1887), he was appointed director of the Observatory and professor of astronomy at Turin University. Porro managed the construction of a new astronomical observation station at Superga, in the Turin hills, and worked on the construction of a new observatory in Pino Torinese (Turin).

In 1901, Porro moved to Genoa where he held the chairs of geodesy and astronomy at the university. Later, in 1905, on Schiaparelli’s proposal ...

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