Charles Piazzi Smyth


Charles Piazzi Smyth

Naples, Città Metropolitana di Napoli, Campania, Italy
Death 21 Feb 1900 (aged 81)
Sharow, Harrogate Borough, North Yorkshire, England
Burial Sharow, Harrogate Borough, North Yorkshire, England
Plot Pyramid west of the church
Memorial ID 27152297 View Source
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Astronomer. The middle name Piazzi was given to him after his Godfather, who was an Italian astronomer. His father was also an amateur astronomer so there is no surprise that the boy studied astronomy as well. Admiral Smyth established an observatory for his son at home at Bedford. At mid teens Charles gained a position as assistant to Sir Thomas Maclear in the Cape of Good Hope giving him a chance to observe various astronomical spectacles. He worked there from 1835 to 1845, establishing a reputation for astronomical drawing and the use of photography. In 1845 he was appointed Astronomer Royal for Scotland, a post he held for 43 years, and also Professor of Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh. In the 1860s he traveled to Egypt and produced accurate measurements of the Great Pyramid. He was a pioneer of indoor photography and the photographs he took inside the Great Pyramid are some of the earliest known. Amongst his many publications are ‘Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid', 1864, ‘Life and Work at the Great Pyramid', 1867. He carried out important scientific research in cooperation with professor A.S.Herschel and in 1880 he received the Macdougal-Brisbane Prize after constructing a map of the solar-spectrum. He contributed to advancing the science of Spectroscopy, organised over fifty meteorological stations in Scotland, made numerous astronomical experiments. In 1888 he resigned his official position, retired to Yorkshire and devoted the rest of his life to cloud photography. A crater on the Moon is named after him.

Bio by: julia&keld

Family Members



Daughter of Thomas Duncan, the dear wife of Charles
Piazzi Smyth LL.D.Ed. late Astronomer Royal for Scotland
Who was his faithful and sympathetic friend and companion
through 40 years of varied scientific experiences by land and sea
abroad as well as at home at 12000 feet up in the atmosphere
on the wind swept peak of Teneriffe as well as underneath and
until she fell asleep in the LORD JESUS CHRIST
at Clova Ripon on the 24th day of March 1896 aged 80 years.

Beside the Earthly Remains of his Lamented Wife, here lies interred the Body of
Born 3rd January 1819, died February 21st 1900.
Astronomer Royal for Scotland from 1845 to 1888, who earned unperishing renown by his Journeys
to distant lands for scientific objects, and by his eminent Astronomical and other Scientific
Writings and Researches. As Bold in enterprise as he was Resolute in demanding a proper measure of public sympathy and support for Astronomy in Scotland, he was not less a living emblem of pious
patience under Troubles and Afflictions, and he has sunk to rest, laden with well-earned
Scientific Honours, a Bright Star in the Firmament of Ardent Explorers of the Works of their Creator.

Still achieving, still pursuing, Learn to Labour and to Wait.

He prayeth best, who loveth best All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us, He made and loveth all.



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: julia&keld
  • Added: 27 May 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 27152297
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Charles Piazzi Smyth (3 Jan 1819–21 Feb 1900), Find a Grave Memorial ID 27152297, citing St John the Evangelist Churchyard, Sharow, Harrogate Borough, North Yorkshire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .