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Kew Observatory solar photographs, 1858 - 1872

Reference Code: GBR/0180/RGO 67

Scope and Contents

RGO 67 largely consists of a good run of contact prints from glass plate negatives of the sun produced between January 1862 and January 1872. The most significant breaks are December 1862-May 1863 and August-September 1872. Additionally there are a handful of glass plate negatives and contact prints produced in 1858-9, and one further negative dated 1866. The sequence of images is essentially continued by RGO 51: RO and RGO Solar Plates Contact Prints.


  • Creation: 1858 - 1872


Conditions Governing Access

From the Management Group:

Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (

Biographical / Historical

The Kew Observatory pioneered the regular photographing of sunspot activity in the United Kingdom. The photographs were made using the Kew photoheliograph, which was designed by Warren De La Rue in 1857 for this specific purpose. The photoheliograph was transferred to Greenwich in 1873, after the Royal Society assumed responsibility for the Kew Observatory. For an administrative history of Kew Observatory see RGO 66.


270 item(s) : paper

Language of Materials



The prints and negatives not produced as part of the main 1862-72 chronological sequence are to be found at RGO 67/257-70.

Other Finding Aids

A handlist is kept in the Manuscripts Reading Room but contains a considerable number of keying error rectified in this electronic version. A tabulated catalogue, combined with other RGO solar image lists, and which may be sorted by various data e.g. former reference.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The items were probably transferred from Kew to the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, before being deposited in the R.G.O. Archives.

Related Materials

Further Kew Observatory material is to be found at classmark RGO 57, Kew Observatory sunspot observations (including RGO 57 /12, a record of heliograph observations); and RGO 66, Kew Observatory papers. Further records of solar observations can be found in RGO 50, RO and RGO Solar Plates; RGO 51, RO and RGO Solar Plates Contact Prints; RGO 58, Heinrich Samuel Schwabe: sunspot drawings; RGO 64, RGO Solar Department: papers; RGO 65, RGO Herstmonceux Solar Records: Lyot filter negative films; RGO 81, Observations of the minor planet Eros to determine the solar parallax: papers and records; RGO 138, RGO Solar Eclipse Plates and Photographs; RGO 143, Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope Solar Records: Lyot filter negative films and records; RGO 144, Stonyhurst College and Zurich Observatories: sunspot drawings; RGO 157, RGO Solar Observation Records (including photoheliograph registers); RGO 169, Royal Observatory and RGO Solar Eclipse expeditions: records; and RGO 202, Ely Observatory Solar Plates Contact Prints: from Canon William Selwyn's observatory.


The online catalogue was compiled from an existing list in November 2008 by Zoe A. Rees, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives, and was emended in July 2009.


Royal Observatory, Kew

Finding aid date

2008-11-13 15:18:41+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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Cambridge CB3 9DR United Kingdom