Dr Nevil Maskelyne

Dr Nevil Maskelyne

London, City of London, Greater London, England
Death 20 Jul 1811 (aged 78)
Greenwich, Royal Borough of Greenwich, Greater London, England
Burial Purton, Wiltshire Unitary Authority, Wiltshire, England
Memorial ID 87129489 · View Source
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Astronomer, Scientist. He was the 5th English Astronomer Royal, a position he held from 1765 until his death. He graduated from St. Catharine's College, Cambridge, in 1754 and was ordained as a minister in 1755. In 1756 he became a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He acquired an interest in astronomy and was admitted to the Royal Society in 1758, after which he embarked on several scientific journeys that led him to eventually develop a method of calculating the earth's longitude using the position of the moon, which became known as the lunar distance method. He became an advocate of this method and after being appointed to the Astronomer Royal position in 1765, he convinced the Board of Longitude and the Royal Society it was much easier and less expensive over using a chronometer, which was the previously accepted method. Because his observations and calculations were performed at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, the Greenwich meridian eventually became the common base for longitude worldwide and was adopted internationally as the Prime Meridian in 1884. He also introduced the measurement of time to tenths of a second and prevailed on the government to replace astronomer John Bird's mural quadrant (a large instrument usually mounted on or built into a wall for measuring angles from 0 to 90 degrees) at the Royal Greenwich Observatory by a repeating circle (an instrument used for geodetic surveying) six feet in diameter. He died before this instrument could be completed.

Bio by: William Bjornstad

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: William Bjornstad
  • Added: 21 Mar 2012
  • Find a Grave Memorial 87129489
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dr Nevil Maskelyne (6 Oct 1732–20 Jul 1811), Find a Grave Memorial no. 87129489, citing Saint Mary the Virgin Churchyard, Purton, Wiltshire Unitary Authority, Wiltshire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .