Robert Grant: Catalogue of 6415 Stars for the Epoch 1870

Glasgow: James MacLehose & Sons, 1883
Sp Coll MacLehose f8 

Robert Grant (1814–1892) was the University’s sixth Professor of Astronomy, from 1859 to 1892. His areas of expertise included the history of astronomy and solar astronomy. This catalogue is based on his observations at the University Observatory from 1860 to 1881.

Grant’s predecessor, John Pringle Nichol, had been charismatic and ambitious but erratic. He had managed to build a new observatory at Dowanhill and purchase new instruments, but the enterprise soon ran into serious financial trouble and had to be taken over by the University. The Observatory had originally been located on the Dowhill, in 1757, furnished with instruments donated by Alexander Macfarlane, a merchant in Jamaica. Grant consolidated the fitful progress made by Nichol. He enlarged the collection of instruments and continued the stellar work which Nichol had started. The University Observatory was to move twice more to escape the encroaching pollution of the growing city, in 1939 and 1969.

This catalogue includes a history of the Chair of Astronomy and an inventory of the Observatory instruments in 1859. Another substantial star catalogue was published in 1892, just weeks after Grant’s death. Archie Roy notes that, in spite of illness, Grant verified every page of the proofs. The final page was checked on the day he passed away.

 Title Page of 'Catalogue of 6415 Stars...'
Image: title page.

Go to the next book in the exhibition: Testimonials in Favour of Ludwig Becker, Candidate for the Chair of Astronomy