In Search of William Gascoigne

Seventeenth Century Astronomer

  • David Sellers

Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 390)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. The Discovery of William Gascoigne

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. David Sellers
      Pages 3-6
    3. David Sellers
      Pages 7-13
    4. David Sellers
      Pages 15-22
    5. David Sellers
      Pages 23-30
    6. David Sellers
      Pages 31-42
    7. David Sellers
      Pages 43-48
    8. David Sellers
      Pages 49-58
  3. Gascoigne’s World

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 59-59
    2. David Sellers
      Pages 61-68
    3. David Sellers
      Pages 69-82
  4. Digging Further

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 101-101
    2. David Sellers
      Pages 103-110
    3. David Sellers
      Pages 111-116
    4. David Sellers
      Pages 117-125
  5. The Civil War and After

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 127-127
    2. David Sellers
      Pages 129-139
    3. David Sellers
      Pages 141-145
    4. David Sellers
      Pages 147-148
  6. Appendices

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 149-149
    2. David Sellers
      Pages 153-215
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 219-222

About this book


William Gascoigne (c.1612-44), the first inventor of the telescopic sight and micrometer—instruments crucial to the advance of astronomy—was killed in the English Civil War. His name is now known to historians of science around the world, but for some considerable time after his tragic death at the age of 32, it seemed as if his achievements would be consigned to oblivion. Most of his papers were lost in the maelstrom of war and the few that seemed to have survived later disappeared. This is the story of how his work was rescued. Woven into that story is an account of the state of astronomy and optics during Gascoigne’s lifetime, so that the reader can appreciate the significance of his discoveries.


A substantial appendix presents selected extracts from Gascoigne's correspondence. This includes much new material that has not been previously published and illustrates his efforts to explain the basis of his pioneering techniques to the satisfaction of his contemporaries.   


Adrien Auzout History of Optics Micrometer Inventor Seventeenth Century Astronomy Springer History Astronomy Telescopic Sight Inventor William Crabtree William Gascoigne Biography

Authors and affiliations

  • David Sellers
    • 1
  1. 1.LeedsUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information