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

Johnson, Manuel John

  • Keith Snedegar
Reference work entry

BornMacao, China, 23 May 1805

DiedOxford, England, 28 February 1859

Star cataloger Manuel Johnson founded an observatory at Saint Helena, prepared one of the earliest accurate catalogs of Southern Hemisphere stars, and served as director of the Radcliffe Observatory. The only son of John William Johnson, he attended Addiscombe College, the British East India Company’s military academy. Commissioned as a lieutenant at age 16, he was assigned to an artillery unit stationed on the island of Saint Helena. Johnson developed an interest in astronomy, which was encouraged by the governor of the island who wished to establish an observatory there. Johnson made two trips to Cape Town, South Africa, in 1825 and 1828, to confer with  Fearon Fallows, His Majesty’s Astronomer at the Cape, on observatory construction and equipment.

Johnson began observation at Saint Helena late in 1829. Over the next 4 years he compiled a catalog of 606 Southern Hemisphere stars, which was printed at the company’s...

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Selected References

  1. Dieke, Sally H. (1973). “Johnson, Manuel John.” In Dictionary of Scientific Biography, edited by Charles Couliston Gillispie. Vol. 7, pp. 145–146. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  2. Johnson, Manuel J. (1835). A Catalogue of 606 Principal Fixed Stars in the Southern Hemisphere; Deduced from Observations Made at the Observatory, St. Helena, from November 1829 to April 1834. London.Google Scholar
  3. — (1842–1860). Astronomical Observations Made at the Radcliffe Observatory. Vols. 1–19. Oxford.Google Scholar
  4. — (1860). Radcliffe Catalogue of 6317 Stars, Chiefly Circumpolar. Oxford.Google Scholar
  5. Warner, Brian (1981). “Manuel Johnson and the St. Helena Observatory.” Vistas in Astronomy 25: 383–409.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Utah Valley State CollegeOremUSA