Giuseppe PiazziBorn 16 Jul 1746; died 22 Jul 1826 at age 80.Italian astronomer and author whodiscovered the first asteroid, Ceres. He established an observatory at Palermo and mapped the positions of 7,646 stars. He also discovered that the star 61 Cygni had a large Proper Motion, which led Friedrich Bessel to chose it as the object of his parallax studies. He discovered Ceres on 1 Jan 1801, but was able to make only three observations. He named it after Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture and motherly love. The term “asteroid,” meaning “star-like” was coined (1803) by William Herschel. Fortuitously, Carl Gauss had recently developed mathematical techniques that allowed the orbit to be calculated. Within the next few years, astronomers discovered three more asteroids: Pallas, Juno, and Vesta. The thousandth asteroid discovered was named Piazzi in his honor.