Emmanuel Liais

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Emmanuel Liais (15 February 1826–5 March 1900) was a French astronomer, botanist and explorer who spent many years in Brazil.

He was born in Cherbourg, the son of a wealthy family in the shipbuilding industry.

He was an amateur scientist and made some meteorological observations and wrote some papers. The astronomer Fran├žois 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...
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