The Various Twine of Light

  • William Sheehan
  • Christopher J. Conselice


The Leviathan’s example inevitably stirred attempts to emulate its power without suff ering the disadvantages of its situation. William Lassell, a wealthy Liverpool brewer who had visited Rosse’s workshops in Parsonstown in 1844 and had partly witnessed the six-foot refl ector’s erection, set to building a grinding machine and polishing machine similar to (but improving upon) those Rosse had used, and constructed a 24-inch refl ector, mounted equatorially rather than on an alt-azimuth, at his residence near Liverpool. He demonstrated its power with the discovery of Triton, Neptune’s largest satellite, soon aft er the discovery of the planet itself in September 1846. Increasingly dissatisfied with the poor observing conditions in Liverpool—this was, aft er all, the period of the Industrial Revolution, and Liverpool was in the heart of the north of England with their “dark Satanic mills” and choking air pollution–Lassell in 1852 transported the 24-inch to the clearer skies of Valetta, Malta, chiefl y to observe the nebulae. He followed up with construction of a 48-inch refl ector, also mounted equatorially, which he took to Malta in 1861. It was never installed in a building, but remained in the open air when not in use.


Globular Cluster Planetary Nebula Bright Line Double Star Fraunhofer Line 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Sheehan
    • 1
  • Christopher J. Conselice
    • 2
  1. 1.WillmarUSA
  2. 2.School of Physics and Astronomy University of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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