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Reflections on the Astronomy of GlasgowA story of some 500 years$
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David Clarke

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780748678891

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748678891.001.0001

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The Early Nineteenth Century

The Early Nineteenth Century

Chapter:
(p.120) Chapter 5 The Early Nineteenth Century
Source:
Reflections on the Astronomy of Glasgow
Author(s):

David Clarke

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748678891.003.0005

This chapter covers a fairly stagnant period for science within the University. Following Patrick Wilson's resignation, William Meikleham was appointed as 3rd Regius Professor of Astronomy, but four years later he moved to the Chair of Natural Philosophy. James Couper then took charge but decay of the Macfarlane Observatory and loss of student interest, partly as a result of poverty, caused contraction of astronomical activity. There was some compensation by a rise of the general public's educational aspirations, however. Funds were raised for an Egyptian styled observatory building at Garnethill. It was remarkable in the way it housed the lavish instrumental purchases including Herschelian telescopes; Herschel visited Glasgow in 1811 to install one them. The whole enterprise soon succumbed to financial problems and this telescope was sold to the Board of Longitude and shipped to the Cape Observatory where it remains to this day. Many local educators offered astronomy courses and there were dioastrodoxnon shows by visiting presenters demonstrating giant transparent orreries in the Theatre Royal. A local man, John Fulton, constructed and completed an elegant orrery in 1833, it receiving acclaim at exhibition in London and around the country; Fulton's Orrery remains on display in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

Keywords:   William Meikleham, James Couper, Garnethill Observatory, Herschelian telescopes, Board of Longitude, Dioastrodoxon, Fulton's Orrery

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