Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc (December 1, 1580 - June 24, 1637)
Nicholas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc was born on December 1, 1580 in Belgentier,
Var, France and grew up in the wealthy family of a higher magistrate in the
Provence. He got education in Aix, Avignon, and the Jesuit college at Tournon.
At Toulon, he got first interested in astronomy. He undertook a longer travel
in Italy, Switzerland and France in 1599, and finally finished his legal
studies in 1604 in Montpellier. After receiving his degree, he returned to
Aix and took over his uncle's position as conseiller in the Parlement of
Provence, under the president of the Parlement, Guillaume du Vair. He and du
Vair travelled to Paris 1605-6 and in 1607-15, he served at Aix.
In 1610, his patron, du Vair, purchased a telescope. which Peiresc and Joseph
Gaultier used for observing the skies, including Jupiter's moons.
Peiresc discovered the Orion Nebula in 1610;
Gaultier became the second person to see it in the telescope.
However, this discovery fell forgotten until 1916 when
G. Bigourdan (1916) announced its recovery.
From 1615-1622, Peiresc again made a trip to Paris with du Vair. Later, he
returned to Provence to serve as senator of sovereign court. He became a
patron of science and art, studied fossils, and homed astronomer Gassendi
He passed away on June 24, 1637 in Aix-en-Provence.
Peiresc was honored by naming Moon crater Peirescius (46.5S, 67.6E, 61 km
diameter) in 1935, as well as Asteroid (19226) Peiresc.
[History Home] |