Hampshire

Astronomers

Bayly, William (1737-1810), born at Bishops Cannings, near Devizes.  In 1771 he was appointed assistant to the astronomer royal Nevil Maskelyne at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. He then served as astronomer on Captain Cooks Second Voyage to the South Seas.  After his eturn to England he was appointed headmaster of the Royal Naval Academy in Portsmouth Dockyard in 1785. (ODNB).

Berthon, Rev. Edward Lyon (1813-1899)  was born in Finsbury Square, London on February 20, 1813. In 1841 he entered Magdalene College,Cambridge to study for the Clergy. Graduating as B.A. in 1845 and M.A. in 1849, he moved to Hampshire where he was first given the curacy at Lymington and then the living of Fareham (1847-57). This was after a varied early career when he tried surgery, giving that up to get married and embark on a European tour which lasted six years. Interested in mechanical engineering and design, during his lifetime he put his skills to designing collapsible boats, a screw propellor and a sea anchor.

In his free time he constructed equatorial reflecting telescopes, that is everything except the mirrors. At the Paris Exhibition in 1878 he received a silver medal for one of 12 ½ inch aperture. A year before his death he completed a 16 ½ inch, ten feet focal length telescope complete with observatory. This was constructed at his boat yard for export to South Africa. Sir Howard Grubb supplied the optics. Many of his telescopes went to other priests, such as the Reverend Thomas William Webb.  He was elected into the fellowship of the Royal Astronomical Society on January 8 1865. He read only one paper to the society, on the 11 December 1874, ‘On the Equestrian Equatorial’. He also demonstrated a model of it at the meeting. Presumably this style of telescope mount derived its name from the double counter weights that look like a riders legs on either side of a horse.  Berthon is perhaps best remembered these days in the amateur astronomical community for his ‘dynamometer’. This device is used to measure the diameter of the pencil of light rays emerging from the eyepiece of a telescope. In Berthon’s day this bright circle was known as the ‘Ramsden Disc’, the modern term is ‘Exit Pupil’. Berthon wrote his autobiography A Retrospect of Eight Decades, shortly before he died at Romsey, Hampshire on October 28, 1899.  (SeeRomsey Observatory below)

Drew, John (1809-1857) born Bower Chalk, but received little formal education. At the age of 15 he took up teaching; about age 17 he went to Southampton where for the following 16 years he ran his own school. He made his first astronomical observations using a small refractor, which was later replaced with a 5-foot Dollond equatorial, installed in a small observatory in his garden. Using a transit circle by Thomas Jones and a Beaufoy clock lent by the Royal Society, he made accurate determinations of time, supplying them for ships leaving Southampton. He also published on astronomy and its apparatus. Reviewed the astronomy section of the Great Exhibition of 1851 for the Civil Engineer and Architect’s Journal, to which he also contributed articles on astronomy and meteorology. In meteorology he searched for a correlation between the weather conditions and cholera outbreaks in Southampton between 1848-1853 did not show any correlation, presenting these results to the British Association. He also travelled on the Continent, visiting Brussels Observatory and Basel. At Basel he met C. F. Schönfeld, who recruited him as a member of a network of observers to observe the atmospheric distribution of ozone. FRAS 1846; founder member of the (Royal) Meteorological Society (1850).  Author of Practical Meteoroligical.(1855) and articles to Monthly Notices of the RAS and the journal of the Meteorological Society (ODNB).

Howlett, Rev. Frederick (1821-1908), lived in East Tisted Rectory, Alton, Hants. Solar observer for 35 years using a 3 inch refracting telescope.

May, Charles (1800-1860), born Alton, but as a child moved to Ampthill, Beds. After 1836 lived in Ipswich, Suffolk, and had a fine observatory there. A friend of Admiral Smyth and the Hartwell Synod. See MNRAS, 21, 4 (Feb. 1861), 103-05. Also see William Barton, ‘Building steps to the stars’, Astronomy Now (December 1999), 54-55.

Markwick, Ernest Elliott (1853-1925), born in East Acton, Kent (See Kent)

Westlake, Thomas , Quaker, lived in Fordingbridge where he built an observatory and installed a 12-inch equatorial reflector.

Observatories

Drew’s Observatory (1847-57), established by John Drew (1809-57) in the garden of his home in Southampton. Equipment was a 3¼-inch Jones transit of 1835, of 42-inch focal length, and the Beaufoy clock loaned by the RAS. With these he determined time very accurately, and for many years supplied it to the ships in the port. In 1847 he added a 3¾-inch Dollond equatorial. Between 1848 and 1853 he took regular meteorological observations, reported them, and was invited to become a founder member of the British Meteorological Society. Then his health began to fail (See: Weale 1851, p.64  for illustration; RAS Memoirs, X, 3, p. 68;  Howse 1986).

Markwick’s Observatory (1905-14), Boscombe, established by E.E. Markwick (Kent page) variable star and solar observations.

Naval Academy Observatory (c.1765-c.1830), established at the Naval Academy, Portsmouth (later Royal Naval Academy) under the leadership of William Bayley (1737–1810), equipped with small instruments (Wikipedia; Howse 1986)

Romsey Observatory, established by the Rev. Edward L. Berthon (1833-99), the vicar of Romsey 1860-92, designed and built a small wooden transit room and adjacent equatorial room that became a ‘type’ named after him. Because of its simple design with no curved parts, hundreds of English amateurs have copied it.

Worthington’s  Observatory, Four marks nr. Winchester, established by James H. Worthington with a 10-inch  refractor by Cooke of 1871, he also had a visual prominence spectroscope, a 20-inch Calver reflector, in 1914 a new 4-inch Alvan Clark refractor, and two Steinheil photoheliographs. In 1914 he sought to dispose of the instruments. The Cooke was purchased by St Andrew’s University, and in the early 1950s transferred to the Mills Observatory (Worthington 1914Marriott 2006).

Astronomical Societies

Andover Astronomical Society (AnAS), founded 1995 by a group of local astronomers with a strong outreach remit.  Members (40-2016) meet at Grateley War Memorial Hall, Grateley (SP11 8LG) with talks and observing session.

Basingstoke Astronomical Society (BsgAS). Members (60-2016) meet at Cliddesden Primary School, Basingstoke (RG25 2QU).

Cody Astronomical Society (CodAS), founded 1998 by employees of QineteQ (formerly Royal Aircraft Establishment).  Members (40-2016) meet at the Cody Technology Park, Farnborough and have use of an observatory housing a 6-inch Coude refractor by Zeiss.

Fordingbridge Astronomers (FA) founded for astronomer of all ages and abilities. Member meet at the St Ives Club, Ringwood (BH24 2PF)

Gosport Astronomy Club (GAC), inactive (2016)

Hampshire Astronomical Group (HaAG), founded 1960 by Ray Bootland following an advertisent in a local paper.  Members meet at Clanfield Memorial Hall, Clanfield (PO8 0RB) and observe at Clanfield Observatory on Hinton Heights. It houses 12, 16 & 24-inch reflecting telescopes along with 4, 5 & 7-inch refracting telescopes in separate domes

Solent Amateur Astronomers (SAA), founded 1972 by 14 keen amateur astronomers in the Southampton area.  Members (c.50-2016) meet at Oasis Academy, Lordshill, Southampton (SO16 9RG) and Toothill Observatory, Toothill near Southampton.

Southampton Astronomical Society (SouthaAS), founded 1924 to promote and stimulate an interest in astronomy.  Members meet at the Isaac Watts Memorial Church Hall, Southampton (SO16 6TS).

Astronomical Associations

Winchester Cathedral

The Bishop Morley’ Cathedral library own a pair of 68 cm library globes (terrestial & celestial) by Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638).  Costing £50 they were acquired in the 17th century.

Useful addresses

Hampshire Record Office

Sussex Street
Winchester SO23 8TH
England

Tel 01962 846154
Fax 01962 878681

Email enquiries.archives@hants.gov.uk

URL http://www.hants.gov.uk/record-office/index.html

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