The Cape

I.S. Glass

in Nicolas-Louis De La Caille, Astronomer and Geodesist

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199668403
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191749315 | DOI:
The Cape

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La Caille's voyaged to the Cape via Rio de Janeiro with the hydrogapher D'Après de Mannevillette. On arrival he met Governor Tulbagh who befriended him. He lodged with Jan Lourens Bestbier, a German immigrant who could speak French. Tulbagh offered the resources of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) to build a small observatory next to Table Bay. This was equipped with several state-of-the-art instruments. He made a telescopic survey of the sky, listing about 10,000 stars, and found it necessary to define a number of new constellations. He also catalogued nebulous objects, considerably increasing the number known. He determined an accurate position for the Cape and studied atmospheric refraction. Other projects included finding the distances of the Moon, Venus and Mars. He further worked towards deriving better orbits of the earth (via the Sun), Mars, Venus and the Moon.

Keywords: D'Après de Mannevillette. Rio; Cape Town; VOC; Tulbagh; Sky Survey; constellations; nebulae; planetary orbits

Chapter.  12218 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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