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Pierre-Antoine Véron

Before Véron's observations the width of the Pacific Ocean was unknown

Pierre-Antoine Véron (1736–1770) was a French astronomer and mathematician. He was a disciple of astronomer and writer Jérôme Lalande[1] at the Collège Royal.[2] Véron is famous for having made a historical observation of the size of the Pacific Ocean. Together with Philibert Commerson, Véron was one of the main scientists that accompanied Louis Antoine de Bougainville on his voyage of exploration.[3] He died of illness in Timor in 1770.

Exploration of the PacificEdit

Véron was the astronomer on Bougainville's ship during his 1766–1769 circumnavigation of the globe on the La Boudeuse and L'Étoile, but he had been on other ships earlier. By means of a solar eclipse[4] and the new technology that was available to him, Véron was able to determine the longitude near Port Praslin in the southern part of New Ireland on 13 July 1768.[5] This fact was important for, following a previous longitude he took at the Strait of Magellan,[6] it allowed Véron to establish the width of the Pacific with precision for the first time in history.

The Verron Range, one of the main mountainous features in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea, was named after him.[7]


  1. ^ Jérôme Lalande
  2. ^ Seymour Chapin, The Men from Across La Manche: French Voyages, 1660–1790
  3. ^ National Geographic – Louis-Antoine de Bougainville Archived 2011-12-15 at the Wayback Machine(in German)
  4. ^ Thomas Suárez, Early mapping of the Pacific: The Epic Story of Seafarers, Adventurers and Cartographers Who Mapped the Earth's Greatest Ocean, Periplus Editions, 2004 ISBN 978-0-7946-0092-1
  5. ^ Mémoires de l'Acadêmie des sciences de l'Institut de France, Institut national des sciences et arts, Paris, 1789
  6. ^ Olivier Chapuis, À la Mer comme au Ciel; Beautemps-Beaupré et la naissance de l'hydrographie moderne (1700–1850), Presses de l'Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 1999 ISBN 978-2-84050-157-2
  7. ^ History – NI mountains tell a tale Archived 2012-04-05 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit