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Chary, Chintamanny Ragoonatha (DNB00)

CHARY, CHINTAMANNY RAGOONATHA (d. 1880), astronomer, was attached to the Madras observatory nearly forty years, during seventeen of which he occupied the position of first assistant. He took a chief share in making observations with the transit-circle (to the number of 38,000) for the star catalogue in progress from 1862, and was a prominent and useful member of expeditions fitted out to observe total eclipses of the sun, 18 Aug. 1868 and 11 Dec. 1871. On the first occasion he was in independent command of a party stationed at Vunpurthy, in the nizam's dominions; on the second the post assigned him was at Avenaski in the Coimbatore district. He was zealous for the diffusion among his countrymen of enlightened ideas about astronomy, and of late delivered frequent lectures on the subject before native audiences. But a manual of astronomy for Hindu readers, to the preparation of which he devoted much labour, failed of completion, probably through deficiency both of health and means. The progressive infirmity of some years terminated in his death at Madras 5 Feb. 1880.

Chary's skill in the use of instruments, rapidity in computing, and honesty in recording, rendered his astronomical services of high value. He discovered two new variable stars, and edited, during twelve years, besides a native calendar, the astronomical portion of the ‘Asylum Press Almanac,' He published in 1874 a pamphlet on the ‘Transit of Venus,' which appeared in six Indian languages as well as in English, and was largely subscribed for. Appended to it was an address delivered by him 13 April 1874, with the object of securing support for his intended work, in which he proposed the foundation of a native observatory, offering his own instruments as the nucleus of its equipment. He contributed three papers to the ‘Monthly Notices’ of the Royal Astronomical Society, his membership of which dated from 12 Jan. 1872. They were severally entitled: ‘On the Determination of Personal Equation by Observations of the Projected Image of the Sun’ (xix. 337); ‘Occultations visible in the month of August 1868 at Madras, and along the Shadow-Path of the Total Eclipse of the Sun in India' (xxviii. 193); and ‘On the Total Eclipse of the Sun on 11 Dec. 1871, as visible in the Madras Presidency’ (xxxi. 137). Extracts from his observations during the eclipse of 1868 were included by Mr. Ranyard in vol. xli. of ‘Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society’ (pp. 129, 190).

[Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, xli. 180; Madras Mail, 7 Feb. 1880; Athenæum (1880), i. 382.]

A. M. C.