Benjamin Baillaud
Édouard Benjamin Baillaud (14 February 1848 – 8 July 1934) was a French astronomer
An astronomer is a scientist who studies celestial bodies such as planets, stars and galaxies.Historically, astronomy was more concerned with the classification and description of phenomena in the sky, while astrophysics attempted to explain these phenomena and the differences between them using...



Born in Chalon-sur-Saône
Chalon-sur-Saône is a commune in the Saône-et-Loire department in the region of Bourgogne in eastern France.It is a sub-prefecture of the department. It is the largest city in the department; however, the department capital is the smaller city of Mâcon....

, Baillaud studied at the École Normale Supérieure
École Normale Supérieure
The École normale supérieure is one of the most prestigious French grandes écoles...

 and the University of Paris
University of Paris
The University of Paris was a university located in Paris, France and one of the earliest to be established in Europe. It was founded in the mid 12th century, and officially recognized as a university probably between 1160 and 1250...

. He worked as an assistant at the Paris Observatory
Paris Observatory
The Paris Observatory is the foremost astronomical observatory of France, and one of the largest astronomical centres in the world...

 beginning in 1872. Later he was director of the Toulouse Observatory
Toulouse Observatory
The Observatoire de Toulouse is located in Toulouse, France and was established in 1733. It was founded by l'Académie des Sciences, Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres de Toulouse . It was moved 1841 and again in 1981...

 from 1878 to 1907, during much of this time serving as Dean of the University of Toulouse
University of Toulouse
The Université de Toulouse is a consortium of French universities, grandes écoles and other institutions of higher education and research, named after one of the earliest universities established in Europe in 1229, and including the successor universities to that earlier university...

 Faculty of Science.

He greatly expanded the observatory and enthusiastically supported the Carte du Ciel
Carte du Ciel
The Carte du Ciel and the Astrographic Catalogue were two distinct but connected components of a massive international astronomical project, initiated in the late 19th century, to catalogue and map the positions of millions of stars as faint as 11th or 12th magnitude...

project. He specialized in celestial mechanics
Celestial mechanics
Celestial mechanics is the branch of astronomy that deals with the motions of celestial objects. The field applies principles of physics, historically classical mechanics, to astronomical objects such as stars and planets to produce ephemeris data. Orbital mechanics is a subfield which focuses on...

, in particular the motions of the satellite
Natural satellite
A natural satellite or moon is a celestial body that orbits a planet or smaller body, which is called its primary. The two terms are used synonymously for non-artificial satellites of planets, of dwarf planets, and of minor planets....

s of Saturn
Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest planet in the Solar System, after Jupiter. Saturn is named after the Roman god Saturn, equated to the Greek Cronus , the Babylonian Ninurta and the Hindu Shani. Saturn's astronomical symbol represents the Roman god's sickle.Saturn,...


In 1903, the observatory took over a facility on the Pic du Midi
Pic du Midi de Bigorre
The Pic du Midi de Bigorre or simply Pic du Midi is a mountain in the French Pyrenees famous for its astronomical observatory, the Observatoire du Pic du Midi de Bigorre , part of the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées .-Pic du Midi Observatory:Construction of the observatory began in 1878 under the...

 in the Pyrenees
The Pyrenees is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain...

 that had been founded by amateurs in the 1850s with the goal of putting a telescope
A telescope is an instrument that aids in the observation of remote objects by collecting electromagnetic radiation . The first known practical telescopes were invented in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 1600s , using glass lenses...

 there. However, the height of 2865 metres (9400 feet) posed formidable logistical challenges and the ambition had remained unrealised though a meteorological observatory had operated from 1873 to 1880. Baillaud organised a team of soldiers to erect a 0.5 metre (20 inch) reflecting telescope
Reflecting telescope
A reflecting telescope is an optical telescope which uses a single or combination of curved mirrors that reflect light and form an image. The reflecting telescope was invented in the 17th century as an alternative to the refracting telescope which, at that time, was a design that suffered from...

, and 0.25 metre refracting telescope
Refracting telescope
A refracting or refractor telescope is a type of optical telescope that uses a lens as its objective to form an image . The refracting telescope design was originally used in spy glasses and astronomical telescopes but is also used for long focus camera lenses...

 on the summit.

In 1907, he became director of the Paris Observatory
Paris Observatory
The Paris Observatory is the foremost astronomical observatory of France, and one of the largest astronomical centres in the world...

 where he immediately set to work to relaunch the stalled Carte du Ciel project with a conference held at the observatory, entertained by singers from the Paris Opera
Académie Royale de Musique
The Salle Le Peletier was the home of the Paris Opera from 1821 until the building was destroyed by fire in 1873. The theatre was designed and constructed by the architect François Debret on the site of the former Hôtel de Choiseul...

 and refreshed by wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 provided by the director of the Bordeaux Observatory
Bordeaux Observatory
The Bordeaux Observatory is an astronomical observatory affiliated with the University of Bordeaux. Built in Floirac, France in 1893 its lenses were focused between +11 and +17 degrees declination. When in closed down in 1925 it had taken over 1260 plates . -External links:*...

. Though the French government agreed to fund the project, it was becoming increasingly clear that its objectives were hopelessly unrealistic.

Baillaud was active in time standardisation
Universal Time
Universal Time is a time scale based on the rotation of the Earth. It is a modern continuation of Greenwich Mean Time , i.e., the mean solar time on the Prime Meridian at Greenwich, and GMT is sometimes used loosely as a synonym for UTC...

, becoming the founding president of the International Time Bureau
International Time Bureau
The Bureau International de l'Heure or the International Time Bureau, seated at the Paris Observatory, was the international bureau responsible for combining different measurements of Universal Time. The bureau also played an important role in the research of time keeping...

 and initiating the transmission of a time signal
Time signal
A time signal is a visible, audible, mechanical, or electronic signal used as a reference to determine the time of day.-Audible and visible time signals:...

 from the Eiffel Tower
Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is a puddle iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris. Built in 1889, it has become both a global icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world...

. Baillaud maintained the observatory and the time signal throughout World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, even though the German howitzer
A howitzer is a type of artillery piece characterized by a relatively short barrel and the use of comparatively small propellant charges to propel projectiles at relatively high trajectories, with a steep angle of descent...

 Big Bertha
Big Bertha (Howitzer)
Big Bertha Bertha") is the name of a type of super-heavy howitzer developed by the famous armaments manufacturer Krupp in Germany on the eve of World War I...

was targeted on the nominal co-ordinates of Paris, the location of the observatory! Baillaud's concern for the astronomical time standard led him to be an outspoken opponent of daylight saving time
Daylight saving time
Daylight saving time —also summer time in several countries including in British English and European official terminology —is the practice of temporarily advancing clocks during the summertime so that afternoons have more daylight and mornings have less...


Baillaud became founding president of the International Astronomical Union
International Astronomical Union
The International Astronomical Union IAU is a collection of professional astronomers, at the Ph.D. level and beyond, active in professional research and education in astronomy...

 in 1919. He retired as director of the Paris Observatory in 1926.

He won the Bruce Medal
Bruce Medal
The Catherine Wolfe Bruce Gold Medal is awarded every year by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for outstanding lifetime contributions to astronomy. It is named after Catherine Wolfe Bruce, an American patroness of astronomy, and was first awarded in 1898...

 in 1923.

The crater Baillaud
Baillaud (crater)
Baillaud is a lunar crater that is located near the north limb of the Moon. The rim of the crater has been eroded and worn by a long history of impacts, leaving a hilly ridge surrounding the interior. The crater Euctemon is intruding into the rim to the northeast, and the rim bulges outward to the...

 on the Moon
The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

 is named after him, and so are asteroids 11764 Benbaillaud
11764 Benbaillaud
11764 Benbaillaud is a main belt asteroid with an orbital period of 1187.8009673 days . The asteroid was discovered on September 24, 1960....

 and 1280 Baillauda
1280 Baillauda
1280 Baillauda is an outer main-belt asteroid discovered on August 18, 1933 by Delporte, E. at Uccle. Baillauda has a diameter of 50.83 km and turns on itself in 12.6 hours....


External links


The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.