3 photographs of sunspots (Nos.3,12 & 23) of the 39 taken on the photoheliograph at Kew Observatory by Elizabeth Beckley in 1870, Sept 21-24, 26-29.
This series of thirty-nine photographs was taken at Kew Observatory in September 1870 (21-24 and 26-29) by Elizabeth Beckley. She used the Kew Photoheliograph – the first instrument designed specifically to photograph the Sun. They show sunspots moving across the solar surface as the Sun rotates, with the dates and times recorded at the top of each image.
Money was tight at Kew and so Beckley, the teenage daughter of the observatory’s mechanical engineer, was employed cheaply to take daily photographs of the Sun. She went on to work at Kew for over ten years and was one of the first female employees of an astronomical observatory. The Kew astronomer Warren De La Rue praised her ability to capture photographs ‘even on very cloudy days, when it would be imagined that it was almost impossible’. Detailed analysis of photographs by Beckley and other ‘lady computers’ around the world would go on to be fundamental to astronomical work.
The photograph were given to the museum by Beckley's daughter, Mrs E Whipple, in 1982.
- Object Number:
image: 125 mm x 110 mm 0.002 kg
- visual and verbal communication
- positive - photograph
- photographic print
- Mrs E Whipple
Cite this page
We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.
Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero
Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence
Download catalogue entry as json
Download manifest IIIF
Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.