Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Brooks, William Robert

  • William Sheehan
Reference work entry

BornMaidstone, Kent, England, 11 June 1844

DiedGeneva, New York, USA, 3 May 1921

An American astronomer known for his work as a discoverer of comets, William Brooks was the son of a Baptist minister, Reverend William Brooks, and Caroline (née Wickings) Brooks. When still a small boy William accompanied his family on a voyage to Australia, during which his interest in astronomy was piqued by watching the ship’s captain make latitude and longitude determinations. At the age of 13 he immigrated with his family to Marion, New York, USA The bright and graceful comet C/1858 L1 (Donati) of 1858, which he viewed through a homemade spyglass, fascinated Brooks shortly thereafter but did not lead to his active involvement in astronomy at that time.

After his marriage to Mary E. Smith of Edwardsburg, Michigan, in 1870, Brooks settled at Phelps, in the Finger Lakes district of upstate New York, where he worked as a photographer. In his spare time, Brooks built the Red House Observatory (actually no...

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Selected References

  1. Anon. (1907). “Brooks, William Robert.” In National Cyclopaedia Of American Biography. Vol. 5, pp. 197–198. New York: James T. White and Co.Google Scholar
  2. Anon. (1922). “William R. Brooks.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 82: 246–247.Google Scholar
  3. Bortle, John E. (1991). “The King of Comet Finders.” Sky & Telescope 81, no. 5: 476–477.ADSGoogle Scholar
  4. Swift, Lewis (1887). History and work of the Warner Observatory, Rochester, New York. Rochester, New York: Democrat and Chronicle Book and Job Print.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lowell ObservatoryFlagstaffUSA