(15 February 1826–5 March 1900) was a French astronomer
who spent many years in Brazil
He was born in Cherbourg
, the son of a wealthy family in the shipbuilding
He was an amateur scientist
and made some meteorological
observations and wrote some papers. The astronomer François Arago
took note of one of his papers written in 1852, which determined that the weather in his hometown was milder than that of Paris
He then went to Paris in 1854 and worked at the Paris Observatory
. There he assisted Urbain Le Verrier
in creating a telegraphic meteorological network. He went to Brazil
to observe the solar eclipse of September 7, 1858
and ended up staying there for a long time. He became a close acquaintance of the Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro II
, and became the director of the Imperial Observatory at Rio de Janeiro
from January to July 1871 and again from 1874 to 1881.
Although the observatory had been founded in 1827, in reality it was occupied mostly with teaching students of military schools. Liais reorganized it to concentrate on research.
He discovered the comet C/1860 D1
(Liais). This was his only comet discovery and the first comet discovered in Brazil.
He made astronomical observations of Mars
and in 1865 speculated that the dark albedo features
were vegetation and not water (in fact, as we know today, they are neither).
At the behest of the emperor, he made extensive exploration expeditions within Brazil and studied... Read More