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John Flamsteed. Coloured engraving of the English astronomer John Flamsteed (1646-1719). Flamsteed was appointed by Charles II as the first Astronomer Royal in 1675, after coming to prominence with some early papers. He was charged with the construction of accurate lunar and stellar tables, which were needed at that time to enable seafarers to determine their longitude at sea. The Royal Greenwich Observatory was created for the purpose, and the task was to occupy him for the rest of his life. He did eventually finish the work, containing the positions of nearly 3000 stars to an accuracy of 10 seconds of arc, but it was not published until 6 years after his death.
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