History of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1820–1920
Founded as the Astronomical Society of London in 1820, this illustrious organisation received its royal charter in 1831. It has counted some of the world's greatest astronomers among its members, most notably its first president, Sir William Herschel, whose family archive forms part of its extensive library. Now based in Burlington House in Piccadilly, it continues to publish journals, award medals and prizes, and support education and outreach work. Following the society's centenary, this survey of its history appeared in 1923 and comprises contributions from leading astronomers of the early twentieth century. The extracts from primary sources include the diary entry of Sir John Herschel, son of William, recording the dinner at which the society's formation was discussed. The work also provides insights into how the society was able to take advantage of imperial expansion to collect observations and data from around the world, fuelling the Victorian pursuit of scientific knowledge.
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