Scottish astronomers commemorated by blue plaques

10 October 2014

Blue plaques to two Scottish astronomers were unveiled on 8 October in Edinburgh.

Scottish astronomers commemorated by blue plaques

The plaque to Thomas Henderson, the first Astronomer Royal for Scotland, was unveiled at 1 Hillside Crescent, Edinburgh, where he lived from 1840 to 1844. The plaque to Thomas David Anderson was unveiled at his former home, 21 East Claremont Street, Edinburgh.

At a seminar on the history of the two astronomers, Dave Gavine, and the current Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Prof. John Brown, outlined Henderson’s achievements. He, and independently FW Bessel, were the first people successfully to measure the distance to a star.

Jeremy Shears, who has written a paper on the life and findings of Thomas David Anderson, talked knowledgably about this Scottish amateur astronomer. TD Anderson was best known for his discovery of two bright novae: Nova Aurigae 1891 and Nova Persei 1901.

The event was held at Thomas Henderson’s former residence, 1 Hillside Crescent, thanks to the current owner’s generosity.

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