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John Dominic Cassini (1625-1712) was a French astronomer and a prolific writer who gave a new face to the sciences. He advanced knowledge of astronomy to the point where, in France, his name became synonymous with "the creator of astronomy."
As a boy, he had a strong talent for writing Latin Poetry. Some of his poems were published when he was 11 years old.
Later he went into mathematics and astronomy. In 1650 he was appointed professor of mathematics at Bologna.
As first professor of the royal observatory in Paris, he made many astronomical discoveries including finding four satellites of Saturn.
The Cassini space probe, which was named in his honor, has been orbiting Saturn since 2004.
He illustrated the several snow crystals or snow-flowers pictured below in the year 1600 as what he thought snowflakes may actually look like.
Teachers may use these images to teach children about the history of snowflake exploration and to introduce snowflake science and snowflake illustration.
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