Astronomer Royal

Sir George Biddell Airy

Lithographic caricature of Sir George Biddell Airy (1801-1892), seventh Astronomer Royal (1835-1881). Airy was the prime architect of the British Imperial campaign for the 1874 and 1882 ToVs. He was one of only five 19th-early 20th century astronomers to be honoured by a cartoon in Vanity Fair. Image courtesy of Specula astronomica minima (©Specula astronomica minima).

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Rev'd Dr. Nevil Maskelyne

Britain's fifth Astronomer Royal, the Rev'd Dr. Nevil Maskelyne (1732-1811), was a central figure in the planning of the 1769 British ToV expeditions. He advised on the appropriate instruments, developed observing protocols, helped select the appropriate personnel for the observing teams, received and corrected reports of observations, and transmitted data to others. He appears to have done so with good humour and efficiency, for the most part. His importance for the realization of the Canadian ToV data cannot be overemphasised.

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