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For the foreseeable future SHA meetings will be online, due to the Covid 19 health emergency. As these are organised, the details will be posted here.

The fifth online lecture will be on

Saturday 6th November 2021 at Noon (following the AGM)

Title: ‘The Grand Strategy of an Observatory’: George Airy’s vision for the division of astronomical labour among observatories during the nineteenth century

by Daniel Belteki

Abstract: The downfall of the Parramatta Observatory during the 1840s led the British Government to reconsider the funding it provided to observatories. George Airy – the Astronomer Royal and director of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich – recommended the establishment of a new executive body (based in London) to oversee the management of observatories within the British Empire. The recommendation ultimately did not succeed, but it showcased the support of the astronomical community and the British Government to centralise the management of the vast network of observatories. Throughout the next decades this centralised vision continued to influence the founding of new observatories and the organisation of their work. The talk examines Airy’s involvement in the promotion of this centralised vision through his letters and written advice about establishing observatories. The talk shows how he envisioned the grand strategy of an observatory to encompass public utility while also fitting it within the general policy of observatories in relation to the division of astronomical labour.


A video recording of the last Angelo Secchi talk can be viewed here via YouTube for a limited time period.