Leviathan of Birr, Ireland, 19th century

Leviathan of Birr, Ireland, 19th century

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Credit: DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Leviathan of Birr. 19th-century artwork of the 6-foot telescope erected in 1845 at Birr Castle, Parsonstown, Ireland, by the Irish astronomer William Parsons (1800-1867), 3rd Earl of Rosse. Pioneering research carried out here included observing the spiral structure of the M51 galaxy (1845). The telescope was the largest in the world during its lifetime, and was moved up and down between supporting walls and accessed by ladders. The mirror and telescope were dismantled in 1908, and the support structures demolished in 1925. The site is now a museum with a replica built in the 1990s. This scene dates from 1847.

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