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Title page of Flamsteed's star position tables

Title page of Flamsteed's star position tables

H406/0153

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Star position tables. Title page of the English astronomer John Flamsteed's (1646-1719) star position tables. This work, entitled Historiae coelestis Britannica, was published in 1725. Flamsteed was appointed by Charles II as the first Astronomer Royal in 1675, charged with the construction of accurate lunar and stellar tables. These were needed to enable seafarers to determine longitude at sea. The Royal Greenwich Observatory was created for the purpose, and the task was to occupy Flamsteed for the rest of his life. He recorded the positions of nearly 3000 stars to an unprecedented accuracy of 10 seconds of an arc using a 7 foot sextant (seen at top).

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