Abetti, Antonio (1846 - 1928)
Antonio Abetti was born on the 19. June 1846 in San Pietro di Gorizia, then Görz, Italy. Until 1814 the town belonged to the Napoleonic Empire (Illyric Provinces) and was under Austrian protection between 1814 and 1919, when it fell to Italy.

A. Abetti was a civil engineer but turned his interest to astronomy in 1868, a year after he received a degree in mathematics and engineering from the University of Padua. He worked at the local observatory as an astronomer until 1893. After an examination Abetti was appointed director of the observatory in Arcetri and Professor of astronomy at the University of Florence. In 1921, aged 75, he had to retire but continued his researches at the observatory.

The main field of Abetti's work was positional astronomy. During his time in Padua he made many observations of small planets, comets and star occultations. On an expedition to Muddapur, Bengal, in 1874 he observed the transit of Venus across the sun's disk through a spectroscope. It was the first time that such an instrument was used for this purpose.

The Arcetri observatory, founded by G. B. Donati in 1872, had been partially abandoned after Donati's death. So one of the first major tasks for Abetti was to erect a telescope that he had built in the workshops at Padua. The objective lens he used was the 28 cm (11 inch) diameter achromatic doublet with 533 cm focal length constructed by G. B. Amici in 1839. (see also article on V. Ronchi). With this instrument Abetti and others obtained many observations on the positions of minor planets, comets and stars.

Antonio Abetti was a member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (Rome), associate member of the Royal Astronomical Society (London) and a member of several other Italian academies. He died in Arcetri (Florence) on the 20. February 1928. His son, Giorgio Abetti, shared the interest in astronomy and became an astronomer himself.

A Moon crater is named to honor Antonio Abetti and his son (Giorgio Abetti). Also minor planet (2646) Abetti is named in his and his son's honor.

Reference:
Pogg. VI, p. 13, also in Pogg. III, IV and V
Dictionary of Minor Planets, 2. Edition, by Lutz D. Schmadel, Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
Moon Atlas, A. Rukl, Verlag Werner Dausien, Hanau.
Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Vol. 1 (1970), p. 19

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