Flamsteed History of Astronomy Group

The Flamsteed has a ‘special interest group’ with a focus on the History of Astronomy. This group is open to all Flamsteed members, at no extra charge (except possibly for optional outside visits). The activities of the group include the following:

  • Meetings of the group 4 or 5 times a season for lectures and discussions. Meetings most likely take place in the evening (Tuesdays at the ROG or Thursdays at the NMM). There may be some day-time events or visits during the week or at the weekend.
  • Sharing of knowledge among the members through members’ talks etc.
  • Talks and other events led by RMG curators and the ROG astronomy staff (eg ‘back stage’ visits to the reserve collection stores)
  • Visits to other places of interest eg museums like the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford; sites of interest like Stonehenge (to explore archeoastronomy); etc.
  • Other activities to be proposed by the members.

There is a separate mailing list for History of Astronomy group members. If you are a Flamsteed member and are interested in joining this special interest group, please contact us.


Reports on History of Astronomy Group meetings:


Short summaries on subjects of topical interest to the Society, and links to references for more information:

Huygens,  Halley,  and Harrison  ( and Neptune,  and Tycho ) by Mike Dryland

When is a planet not a planet? by Eddie Yeadon

The Bureau des Longitudes in Paris by Eddie Yeadon

Today’s Big Reflecting Telescopes by Mike Dryland

Relative Values — two other significant anniversaries in 2005 by Eddie Yeadon.  Transcribed from f@nmm, October 2005

“The Other Six” — The World’s Greatest Refractors by Mike Dryland

Did you know William Herschel, discoverer of the planet Uranus, was a fine musician and composer?  — CD review from Martin Male

The post of Astronomer Royal is 330 years old   — March 4, 1675

The Craig Telescope on Wandsworth Common by Greg Smye-Rumsby

Charles Parsons & Turbinia — a link between maritime history and astronomy by Eddie Yeadon

James Bradley and the Dragon’s Head—280 years ago James Bradley (later third Astronomer Royal) began a series of observations that was to change astronomy by Mike Dryland

John ‘Longitude’ Harrison is buried in the graveyard of Saint-John-at-Hampstead

Three Astronomers Royal are buried at St. Margaret’s Lee, just 30 minutes’ walk from the ROG

If you could stand on Mars could you witness a Transit of Earth?  How long would you have to wait?

Portraits of John Flamsteed and his assistant Thomas Weston are to be seen on the ceiling of the Painted Hall at Greenwich.  Also, Tycho and Copernicus…

Why doesn’t a GPS receiver held over the Prime Longitude at Greenwich show longitude 0˚ 00΄ 00˝ ?

William Herschel (1738 – 1822) If Sir William Herschel is not the patron saint of amateur astronomers, he should be…

The Transit of Venus In the late 17th/early 18th Century, measuring the size of the solar system accurately was one of the great challenges for science…

Eddie Yeadon’s Transit article from ‘Horizons’

The Royal Greenwich Observatory Herstmonceux By the end of the 19th Century, Greenwich was rapidly becoming unsuitable for astronomy… RGO (pdf)

The Gregorian Calendar (pdf) September 2002 was the 250th anniversary of Britain’s adoption of the Gregorian Calendar…


Pictures from the first meeting: