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Home Forums History of Astronomy Group Monument: The Secret Lab and Telescope

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    Christina Chester
    Topics: 19
    Replies: 196

    Was reading Bobby Manoo’s report on our latest History of Astronomy group’s meeting and was particularly fascinated to read his account of one of Malcolm’s points stating that “there was a zenith telescope at the top of the Monument as well as a laboratory under the ticketing cubicle.”

    I hadn’t heard about this before! I had always believed that this was The Monument to the Great Fire of London.

    It piqued my interest so I decided to do a little bit of digging for more info – I do like a mystery! I found this BBC Future article which is quite an interesting read.

    The article states that Monument was designed by Robert Hooke, not by Sir Christopher Wren as the plaque found at the base would suggest.

    It was supposed to be a grand acknowledgement of the fire, but at the time, “what Hooke really wanted was to build a very long telescope” says Maria Zack, a mathematician at Point Loma Nazarene University, California. In the end, he decided to combine both.

    Fascinating! I won’t spoil the article. It’s a good read.

    Christina Chester
    Topics: 19
    Replies: 196

    .. I couldn’t leave it at that article… !

    Here is another interesting read: It’s a pdf that you can download that describes Hooke’s experiments at Monument or the “Fish Street pillar”, as it was referred as then. The following reference to Flamsteed’s Well Telescope interested me:

    ..Although it did not produce the desired results as a zenith telescope (neither in the deep well at Greenwich, nor beneath the column did it prove possible to measure the tiny incremental shifts in position of the fixed stars required to provide the hoped-for proof of the Earth’s rotation around the sun).

    Construction of Monument had finished in 1677 so Flamsteed’s Well Telescope pre-dates it by a year?

    Andy Sawers
    Topics: 134
    Replies: 604

    Amazing!!! Great work, Miss Marple!

    Topics: 39
    Replies: 597

    Great work, Christina!  I was trying to download the pdf but I think you accidentally linked to the one that’s on your own computer.  I would have hated going down a well for telescope viewing though!

    Christina Chester
    Topics: 19
    Replies: 196

    Oops! Sorry about that. I’m unable to edit my post so have attached the pdf article instead… Hope this works.

    A well telescope doesn’t appeal to me either!

    I’m interested to know whether there is any correlation between Flamsteed’s Well Telescope and Hooke’s telescopes at Gresham College and Monument? Anyone know?

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