Perrotin, Henri (1845–1904)

Henri Perrotin was a French astronomer who, in 1886, while working with Louis Thollon at the Nice Observatory, reported having seen many canals and some "geminations" on Mars in positions agreeing with the map produced by Schiaparelli in 1882 (see Mars, canals). On receiving the news, Schiaparelli was delighted:


I attach very great importance to this confirmation for people will hereafter cease to scoff at me in certain places. The germinations are very difficult to explain, but it is indeed necessary to admit their existence.


In 1888, using what was then the largest refracting telescope in Europe, Perrotin described having observed dramatic changes in a feature, named "Libya" by Schiaparelli, and assumed to be a continental land mass. "Clearly visible two years ago, it no longer exists today," claimed Perrotin. "The nearby sea (if sea it is) has totally inundated it." By 1892, Perrotin had switched his attention to watching for "bright projections" on Mars, reporting three in the summer of that year. These observations attracted widespread press coverage, especially in the light of similar announcements from the Lick Observatory and the recent announcement of the Guzman Prize.