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Birmingham, John (1814–1884), born in Milltown, who inherited family estate at Millbrook near Tuam. An amateur astronomer he acquired a 4.5-inch (110 mm) Cooke refractor (lens by Grubb) which he housed in an observatory on the estate. Birmingham studied red stars, discovering the famous ‘blaze star’ Nova Coronae in 1866, for which he got praise from the Irish Academy and was awarded their Cunningham Medal. He compiled a catalogue of red stars. In 1882 he observed the Transit of Venus using the Cooke telescope (Mohr 2004; ODNB).

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