Photograph of the Great Rosse Telescope, 1880

1880 in Republic of Ireland, Birr and Leinster

One of two photographs (silver prints) of the Great Rosse Telescope taken from the south east. Taken about 1880 by Lieutent-Colonel Harry J. Watson, whilst he was posted to nearby Newbridge.

Taken about 1880, this photograph shows the Great Rosse Telescope from the southeast. Constructed between 1842-5 by William Parsons, the Third Earl of Rosse, it was soon known as the 'Leviathan of Parsonstown'. Located in Ireland at Parsonston, now Birr, the reflecting telescope had a 6-foot metal mirror weighing four tons. Rosse used his great instrument to try and determine the nature of nebulae, misty patches in the sky. This was mounted in a 15m tube slung by chains between massive masonry walls. This image is one of two photographs taken of the telescope by Colonel Harry J. Watson, who as a serving officer was posted to barracks at the nearby town of Newbridge.


Object Number:
telescope - reflecting
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William Porthouse