Telescope; reflecting



This is the telescope of William Edward Wilson who was born in 1851 at Daramona, County Westmeath, Ireland. Wilson had a private education, but his health was poor. He became so interested in astronomy he built his own observatory. This telescope is the third one he had, a 24 inch reflector, driven by an electric clock drive. The telescope and drive was made by Howard Grubb of Dublin in 1882. The telescope is important because Wilson used it in making a number of discoveries, despite being sited in an area where the weather was often poor; which makes it all the more remarkable for the excellent photographs of nebulae it produced. Wilson and his telescope made some of the finest 19th Century astronomical photographs. The telescope was also used in combination with a selenium cell to measure the brightness of stars. Wilson also used the telescope to observe the transit of Venus in 1882. In 1908 Wilson died and the telescope was donated to the University of London, where it was renamed the Allen Telescope. When a more modern telescope was acquired by the University, Wilson’s telescope was retired and became part of NML’s collection in 1976. It is on display on the 5th Floor Space Gallery of World Museum.