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Historical diary for 2005

Chris de Coning, Director of the Historical Section, writes:

"Here follows a list of events important to the history of astronomy in Southern Africa. Society members can use these dates to celebrate events in their area. If you are aware of any important dates I have missed, please forward me the information."

320 years ago: Father Tachard, visiting astronomer, set up a temporary observatory at Cape Town

300 years ago: Peter Kolbe appointed as the first official astronomer in South Africa

185 years ago: Britain takes the decision to set up an astronomical observatory at the Cape. This became the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope, the first permanentobservatory (and also the first scientific establishment) in the southern hemisphere

170 years ago: 14-ft Herschel telescope installed at the Cape Observatory; used by Maclear toobserve Halley's comet (1835 September)

135 years ago: Two prominent astronomers retire at the Cape Observatory: William Mann and the "director" (Astronomer Royal at the Cape of Good Hope) Thomas Maclear. EdwinStone (1870–1879) appointed as the new "director" of Cape Observatory

125 years ago: Dun Echt Heliometer installed at Cape Observatory

105 years ago: David Gill knighted

100 years ago: January 17 was the official opening of the Transvaal Meteorological Station, whichbecame the Johannesburg Observatory. R.T.A. Innes appointed as the first director

100 years ago: The Reversible Transit Circle, a revolutionary new design by David Gill, installed atthe Cape Observatory

80 years ago: Brukkaros Observatory opened (1925 – 1931)

80 years ago: Yale Observatory opened (1925–1951). Alden appointed director; 26-inch telescopeinstalled. This telescope was later moved to Mt. Stromlo in Australia, where a firedestroyed it on 18 January 2003

80 years ago: Van den Bos starts to work at the Union Observatory; 26.5-inch telescope installed

50 years ago: 45-cm Cox-Hargreaves telescope installed at Cape Observatory

45 years ago: Harold Spencer Jones, previous "director" of the Cape Observatory and director ofGreenwich Observatory dies

35 years ago: September 23: CSIR announced the amalgamation of Cape, Radcliffe and RepublicObservatories to form the Combined South African Observatories, now known as theSouth African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO).

20 years ago: 20-cm coelostat telescope installed at Boyden Observatory.


A more complete diary of events is available online.

updated 2004 nov 02



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