Lot 206: George Biddell Airy

RR Auction

RR Auction

2015-08-21 10:51:43

Lot 206: English mathematician and astronomer (1801–1892) who established Greenwich as the location of the prime meridian. ALS signed "G. B. Airy," one page both sides, 4.5 x 7.5, Royal Observatory letterhead, June 4, 1863. Fascinating letter describing an eclipse. In full: "The phenomenon of the light on the moon's surface during a total eclipse is very well known, and is usually attributed to the refraction of a small portion of the sun's light by the Earth's atmosphere which bends the course of the light inwards into the earth's shadow. It is certain that the action of the atmosphere has this tendency, and the amount of light exhibited appears to be such as we might expect to see. To an inhabitant of the moon, the Earth would at these times appear surrounded or perhaps partially surrounded (according to the position of the inhabitant) by a very narrow ring of bright light." In fine condition, with light soiling. Superior content from the astronomer whose contributions ranged from the discovery of planetary inequalities to mathematical lunar theory. RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 460 Wednesday, 16th September 2015 Estimate: $400-600
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