16:00 Chile (GMT-4) June 11, 2021, vía zoom. Access: firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Belteki (ROG Sackler Fellowship, Royal Museums Greenwich)
‘The Grand Strategy of an Observatory’: George Airy’s vision for the division of astronomical labour among observatories during the nineteenth century
The downfall of the Parramatta Observatory during the 1840s led the British Government to reconsider the funding it provided to observatories. George Airy – the Astronomer Royal at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich – recommended the establishment of a new executive body (based in London) to oversee the management of observatories within the British Empire. The recommendation ultimately did not succeed, but it showcased the support of the astronomical community and the British Government to centralise the management of the vast network of observatories. Throughout the next decades this centralised vision continued to influence the founding of new observatories and the organisation of their work. The talk examines Airy’s involvement in the promotion of this centralised vision through newspaper articles and through written advice about establishing observatories. The talk shows how he envisioned the grand strategy of an observatory to encompass public utility while also fitting it within the general policy of observatories in relation to the division of astronomical labour.