On this day, the Italian astronomer, founder and director of the Palermo Observatory Giuseppe Piazzi saw a faint star in the Gemini constellation. He failed to find it in any star catalogue known to him. The next night, the star was not there, but the astronomer located it somewhere else. It turned out to move slowly across the sky, which is characteristic of planets. Piazzi suggested naming it Ceres Ferdinandea after the patron goddess of Sicily and Sicilian King Ferdinand III. The king's name was lost over the years, but the goddess survived, yet demoted from the planet status. For a long time, they called Ceres the largest asteroid. And the twenty-sixth General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union ordered it to consider it a dwarf planet. Along with Pluto – which, unlike Ceres, was demoted. Nevertheless, the modest discovery of a dwarf planet entered the history of science only due to its date – it was the first scientific discovery of the nineteenth century.
Information provided by the Scientific Russia News Agency. Media outlet’s registration certificate: IA No. FS77-62580 issued by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media on July 31, 2015.
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