ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Telescope mirror polishing machine. This polishing machine was used by the British astronomer Andrew Ainslie Common (1841-1903) to polish mirrors for use in his telescopes. Telescope mirrors need to be polished to a high degree of precision in order to accurately focus the light they collect. The larger the mirror, the more difficult the polishing is. The mirror seen here has a diameter of almost a metre, a large mirror for the 19th century. Common built his own private observatory at Ealing, near London, England, in the 1870s. One of his telescopes was a 60-inch reflector. In 1884, he won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society.
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