Since its founding in 1891, many people have passed through the doors of the Vatican Observatory. A quick perusal of our guestbook reveals several Names, including Popes, nobel laureates, astronauts, actors, and saints.
Today’s guestbook entry is from March 26, 1913, when Georges Lecointe made a visit.
Next to his name, Georges Lecointe (1869-1929) wrote, “Directeur à l-observatoire royal de Belgique, à Uccle” (“Director of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, in Uccle.”) He was scientific director of the observatory from 1900-1914, and director of the observatory from 1914-1925.
He was also a Belgian Naval officer, captaining the research ship Belgica from 1897-1901. During this period, he was second in command of the Belgian Antarctic Expedition. This was the first expedition that stayed overwinter in Antarctica. The crew of the expedition also included Roald Amundsen, who would lead the first expedition to reach the South Pole in 1911.
He was founder of the International Polar Organization. He was a founding member of the International Astronomical Union and the International Research Council. He served as president of the Royal Belgian Geographical Society in 1912, and vice-president of the IAU from 1919-1922.
Charlotte Bay in Antarctica was named after Lecointe’s then-fiancee (later his wife) Charlotte Dumiez.
Several Antarctic geologic features bear Lecointe’s name, including Georges Point, Mount Lecointe, Lecointe Island, and Lecointe Guyot.
The asteroid 3755 Lecointe was named for him.
The Belgian Navy ships M901 Georges Lecointe and F901 Georges Lecointe were also named in his honor.