Ashe, Edward David
BornBath, England, circa 1813
DiedSherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, 30 March 1895
Ashe was the first professional astronomer employed by the Canadian government, an early practitioner of determining longitude by telegraph, and a pioneer in solar photography. Ashe joined the Royal Navy in March 1830. With evident mathematical and scientific abilities, he studied gunnery at Portsmouth and, having passed his examinations in 1836, was posted to several ships serving in the Mediterranean and the Pacific until 1849 when an accident removed him from active duty. He received a commission of Lieutenant in 1842.
The government of the Province of Canada proposed building a small observatory in the Citadel in Quebec City to provide accurate time to the port. Ashe was proposed by the Royal Navy to direct the observatory; he arrived in 1850 having obtained instruments from the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Machinery for a time ball was soon in place, along with a small telescope for transit observations....