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

Dawes, William Rutter

  • Richard BaumEmail author
Reference work entry

BornLondon, England, 19 March 1799

DiedHaddenham, Buckinghamshire, England, 15 February 1868

William Rutter Dawes is known for the empirical formula he devised to determine the resolving power of a telescope (Dawes Limit), his extraordinarily keen vision that earned him the sobriquet “eagle-eyed,” and the care and skill with which he conducted his observations of celestial objects. These qualities distinguished him as one of the finest observational astronomers of his day.

Dawes was born at Christ’s Hospital, where his father  William Daweswas mathematical master. William Dawes had been Government Astronomer on the first expedition to Botany Bay in 1787, and had married Judith Rutter in 1792 after his return to England. William Rutter lost his mother at an early age, and following his father’s third official posting to Sierra Leone as that colony’s Governor in 1801, was sent to live with his grandfather in Portsmouth. In 1807, William Rutter’s care became the responsibility of...

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Selected References

  1. Anon. (1869). “The Late Rev. William Rutter Dawes.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society29: 116–120.Google Scholar
  2. Ashbrook, Joseph (1973). “The Eagle Eye of William Rutter Dawes.” Sky& Telescope46, no. 1: 27–28.ADSGoogle Scholar
  3. Bishop, George (1852). Astronomical Observations taken at the Observatory South Villa, Inner Circle, Regent’s Park, London during the years 1839–1851. London: Taylor, Walton and Maberly.Google Scholar
  4. Clerke, Agnes M. (1921–1922). “Dawes, William Rutter.” In Dictionary of National Biography, edited by Sir Leslie Stephen and Sir Sidney Lee. Vol. 5, pp. 667–669. London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Dawes, William Rutter (1865). “The Observations at South Villa.” Astronomical Register3: 43–44.ADSGoogle Scholar
  6. — (1867). “Catalogue of Micrometrical Measurements of Double Stars.” Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society35: 137–502. (Contains Dawes’ observations of 2,135 stars observed at various places and reduced to the epoch 1850.)Google Scholar
  7. Warner, Deborah Jean and Robert B. Ariail (1995). Alvan Clark and Sons, Artists in Optics. 2nd ed., pp. 83–87. Richmond, Virginia: Willmann-Bell.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ChesterUK