a French astronomer and assistant at The French Academy of Sciences, under the direction of Giovanni Cassini. Between 1671 and 1673 he performed experiments and carried out celestial observations in Cayenne, French Guiana, at the request of the French Academy. His observations and measurements of Mars during its perihelic opposition, coupled with those made simultaneously in Paris by Cassini, led to the earliest data-based estimate of the distance between Earth and Mars, which they then used to calculate the distance between the Sun and Earth (the astronomical unit).
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