Schiaparelli, Giovanni Virginio (jōvänˈnē vērjēˈnyō skyäpärĕlˈlē) [key], 1835–1910, Italian astronomer. He was director (1862–1900) of the Brera Observatory, Milan. He is especially noted for having detected (1877) on the surface of the planet Mars the markings that he called canali (channels), later misinterpreted as "canals." He showed that meteor swarms travel through space in cometary orbits and suggested that Mercury and Venus rotate on their axes. He discovered the asteroid Hesperia (1861) and several double stars.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.