Reference Work Entry

Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

pp 754-755


Franks, William Sadler

BornNewark, Nottinghamshire, England, 26 April 1851

DiedEast Grinstead, (West Sussex), England, 19 June 1935

William Franks, a self-taught astronomer, dedicated his life to the estimation of star colors, and served as the professional assistant to several of the grand amateurs of the Victorian era. Franks’s early life was spent in his father’s business in Leicester. He soon showed an aptitude for science and mechanics, especially chemistry and electricity. However, a glance through a friend’s telescope converted him to astronomy. Before long, Franks acquired an instrument of his own and housed it in a small homemade observatory.

After learning the rudiments of celestial observation, Franks settled down to a regular and systematic program of work. The visual estimate of star colors was an interest that persisted throughout his life, and he became very adept. His results, obtained with a small telescope, were found to be in good accord with those derived more recently by measurements of int ...

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