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Correspondence on the Cape Observatory, 1827 - 1845

Reference Code: GBR/0180/RGO 15/28

Scope and Contents

Correspondence and some related papers regarding different aspects of the work and the instruments at the Cape Observatory, together with the Cape Survey, divided into five sections:

N1. Cape Observations, General:

Official Instructions to the Cape Astronomer, containing letters of instruction to F. Fallows and T. Maclear.

Observations of Mauvais' Comet by Maclear at the Cape of Good Hope, August-October 1844.

General correspondence with Maclear, including letters from G.B. Airy and some of Maclear's replies.

N2. Assistants for the Cape Observatory:

Correspondence on the appointments of First and Second Assistants at the Cape Observatory, including the appointment of W. Mann, 20 March 1839.

Correspondence on the appointment of a successor to C. Piazzi Smyth.

N3. Instruments for the Cape Observatory:

Papers on the Cape Mural Circle, including 'Corrections for the mean of two equidistant microscopes', correspondence between G.B. Airy and T. Maclear on the mural circle, and various calculations.

Greenwich observations for the form of the axis of the Cape Mural Circle, March-July 1840.

Correspondence relating to the receipt of a telescope at Greenwich from the Cape.

Correspondence between Airy, Maclear and the Lord' Commissioners of the Admiralty on the agreement to transfer the Jones' Circle from Greenwich, its shipment and its arrival at the Cape of Good Hope, March 1839 - June 1840.

Correspondence regarding an interview with Sir John Herschel and the Secretary of the Admiralty regarding instruments for the Cape Observatory, including Airy's opinion on the subject.

Correspondence relating to the trials of various object glasses, including an object glass ordered in December 1845 from Merz of Munich for the Equatorial Instrument for the Cape Observatory. There are nineteen letters from Sir John Herschel, 16 August 1843 - 31 December 1845.

Correspondence on the dispatch of the Western Equatorial to the Cape Observatory in 1846.

Letters from Maclear regarding the transfer of Ramsden's Altitude and Azimuth Instrument to Greenwich in 1845.

N5. Cape Survey in General:

Correspondence with Maclear during his work on the Cape Survey, 16 November 1836 - 27 December 1845, including regular reports sent to G.B. Airy and his suggestions on how the work should continue.

A request from Airy for the Royal Society to supply Kolbe's paper 'Description of the Cape of Good Hope'.

An inquiry regarding a book of theodolite observations which C. Piazzi Smyth was to bring to the Astronomer Royal.

Fifteen plans, maps and sections showing various parts of the Cape Survey, several signed by J. Williams, April 1838.

N6. Cape Geodetical Instruments:

Correspondence regarding the dispatch of Bradley's Sector to the Cape of Good Hope, including letters from G.B. Airy suggesting that Bradley's Zenith Sector be transferred, 24 February 1837, and later correspondence suggesting that the Arc of the Meridian work be carried out. There are details of the packing and shipping of the instrument and directions as to how it is to be erected. A letter from Maclear to Airy, 22 February 1838, gives details of the Sector's arrival and early use. In this section are details of 'Sending Theodolite to the Cape of Good Hope'.

Correspondence on sending the Standard Bars and Measuring Bars to the Cape of Good Hope, and observations for the expansion and comparisons of the bars, 22 February 1838 - 7 September 1844. Includes a letter from John Herschel, 23 January 1839.

Correspondence concerning Capt. Beaufort's Reichenbach Theodolite, its transfer to the Cape of Good Hope and its subsequent performance.

A letter from T. Maclear on work carried out on heliotropes for signals, 9 June 1839, and a piece printed by the Royal Astronomical Society, 10 May 1833, on the 'Latitude and Longitude of the Cape Observatory'.


  • Creation: 1827 - 1845


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From the Management Group:

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1 volume(s) (1 volume)

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