Search our collection
English glass celestial globe, 1739
Glass celestial sphere (72269/57/1), engraved by John Cowley, 1739, with globe stand by Heath & Wing, London, in the second half of the 18th century. Sphere broken and repaired during 1900s as the cracked and rivetted globe encloses a Newton terrestrial globe with printed gores dated Jan 1st 1897.
Gregorian reflecting telescope, 1748-1788
Gregorian telescope with 3-inch speculum mirror, tube stopper and 2 eyepieces by Thomas Short, London in case.
Mahogany pulley orrery
Wooden pulley orrery made by James Ferguson to illustrate the motions of the Moon and Earth around the Sun.
Filar micrometer by William Herschel, 1780-1800
Eye-piece micrometer inscribed E.6 in wood mount with brass frame divided circle (120 divisions numbered from 0 degree to 60 degrees) and steel screw, 2 threads in position
European astrolabe, 1570
Flemisih brass planispheric astrolabe with compass and figures mounted on the Kursi with 3 plates for latitude, 39 with 42, 45 with 48 and 51 with 54 and shadow dial with unequal scale. Unsigned or dated, but probably by Arsenius, dating to around 1570-80, IC 439 [International Checklist]. A compass square is engraved on the base of the womb of the astrolabe.
Sample panel and adjustor for the James Clerk Maxwell Sub-millimetre telescope, 1986
Triangular piece of sectioned segment panel for the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT), 1986
English planisphere, 1858
Planisphere, "Malby's New and Improved", dated 1858, by Malby & Sons, 37 Parker Street, Little Queen Street, Holborn, varnished card in fabric sleeve, with additional hand-drawn celestial map
Photograph of lunar crater model
One of 15 assorted photographs of James Nasmyth's crater models illuminated at a low angle showing the region of Lunar Apennines. Originally mounted in Nasmyth's own album. The photo appeared in the book, 'The Moon' by Nasmyth & Carpenter (London, 1874), plate IX entitled 'Normal Lunar Crater'.
Orrery planetary model
Brass drum orrery by George Adams, London on claw foot stand with mahogany case. Accessories include detachable tellurium and lunarium wheelwork with planet out to Uranus included.
Orrery planetary model by Thomas Wright, 1718-1747
Orrery showing Sun, Earth & Moon by Thomas Wright, London early 18th century. Modified for display with wooden base (removed) and later separate pulley to drive wheelwork (removed).
English horary quadrant, 1623-1700
English brass Gunter quadrant, 17th century (4-1/2 inch radius) with degree scale and shadow square. Unsigned but design, lettering and decoration identical to 1938-386.
White enamel glass mirror and box, by William Herschel
Six and a half inch concave mirror of enamel (white glass or Tassies compound) prescribed at back:- "no.8, 7 feet enamel mirror (F)" in cardboard round box ("Pl ) with lid, exact focal length 7ft, 3.25 in
X-Y Plate measuring machine by Carl Zeiss, Jena, s
X-Y Plate measuring machine by Carl Zeiss, Jena, serial no.12945, with accessories. Used at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, Herstmonceux in East Sussex from 1960s t0 1990.
Islamic astrolabe, 1605-1606
Brass Arabic planispheric astrolabe with 6 plates and a shadow dial on the reverse by Mustafa Ayyub-i and dated 1014 AH (1605-06 AD), IC 1059 [International Checklist]
Kew photoheliograph designed by Warren De la Rue for the Royal Society, London, in 1857 and made by Ross, London. Used for daily photography of the Sun at the Kew Observatory and Royal Observatory, Greenwich. Transported to Rivabellosa in Northern Spain where it was used to photograph the eclipse of the Sun on July 18th 1860. Similar photographs taken by Father Secchi 500 km away showed identical prominences which proved that they were integral to the Sun rather than terrestrial atmospheric effects..
Photograph of the emission nebula, Eta Carina (1 hour exposure)
One of nineteen photographs from the Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, showing a view of the emission nebula, Eta Carina. A one hour exposure taken with the Astrographic Telescope by Howard Grubb made for the 'Carte du Ciel' photographic sky survey.
Photograph of the emission nebula, Eta Carina (12 hour exposure)
One of nineteen photographs from the Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, showing a view of the emission nebula, Eta Carina. A 12 hour exposure taken with the Astrographic Telescope by Howard Grubb made for the 'Carte du Ciel' photographic sky survey.
Photograph of gibbous Moon
Photograph of the gibbous Moon, 20th Jan. 1880, taken by A.A. Common with a 36-inch reflecting telescope with silver-on-glass mirror from his home in Ealing, West London.
Model of Narivalaya at Jaipur Observatory, 1884-1886
model of double equinoctial dial (Narivalaya), scale 1:36, in the Jaipur Observatory
Italian draw-tube refracting telescope, 1714-1722
Telescope by Pietro Patroni, Milan, with non-achromatic objective lens and 5-draw tube.
Patent model of orrery planetary mechanism, 1865
Patent model of improved orrery by John G. Moore of Philadelphia, US Patent 51072 dated 21st November 1865, with original tag.
European astrolabe, 1548
Planispheric astrolabe in brass gilt with 3 plates for lititudes, 39 with 42, 45 with 48 and 51 with 54, by George Hartmann of Nuremberg dated 1548, IC 268 [International Checklist] .
Photograph of the Great Nebula in Orion, 1883
One of eleven photographs, taken by Andrew Ainslie Common of the Orion Nebula (M42) using a 36-inch reflecting telescope with a silver-on-glass mirror in the garden at his home in Ealing, London. Taken with an exposure of 60 minutes on February 26th 1883.
Aluminium spectroscopic plate from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS)
Sloan Digital Sky Survey spectra or ‘plug’ plate, Used in astronomical sky survey to select sky areas of interest for spectroscopy. USA, c.2000
Photographic print of Herschel's Forty-Foot Telescope, 1890
Photographic print of William Herschel's 40-foot telescope at Slough, in frame made from mahogany ladder rungs from the mounting of the 20-foot telescope used at Slough by William and at the Cape by John Herschel. Printed in 1890, one of 25 prints made from the first permanent negative taken by Sir John F.W. Herschel in 1839.
Islamic horary quadrant, 1727-1728
Persian wooden horary quadrant (15 cm radius), with painted scales and compass in leather case, by Muhammad Abd al-Hadi-Safadi and dated AH 1140 (1727-8).
French armillary astrolabe, 1661
Astronomical circles, or armillary astrolabe by Pierre Sevin, Paris and dated 1661. The astrolabe plate has a Gemma Frisius universal projection with pointer on one side while on the reverse there is a shadow dial with unequal scale and a sighting vane. One sight missing, cleaned and laquered by Chief Attendant W.E. Page 29/7/27. He made and added a small brass key piece which was missing
Case for the first Gregorian reflecting telescope
Metal case for the first Gregorian reflecting telescope which was made by John Hadley in 1726.
Map of Europe marked with the paths of totality for solar eclipses during the 20th century
Map of Europe by George Philip & Son Ltd. with lines in ink showing the tracks of all total solar eclipses crossing Europe during the 20th century.
Refracting telescope on portable stand, 1800-1825
Refracting telescope of 3 1/4 inch aperture and 48 inch focal length by W & S Jones on an altazimuth tripod stand with a mahogany case. Accessories include, 6 eyepieces (5 astronomical & 1 terrestrial), a hook arm and finder telescope.
Reflecting telescope with trolly stand, 1767-1768
Reflecting telescope with speculum mirror of 9 1/4-inch aperture by James Short, London [6/1364 = 49] on equatorial stand arranged to be used as a Gregorian, Cassegrainian or Newtonian, with spare secondary mirrors in metal case and 3 eyepieces (two oak staves, small brass screws etc added in 1913).
Orrery planetary model
orrery with brass gearwork and paper scale showing eight planets out to Neptune with wooden case by Newton and Company, London, mid 19th century.
One of 15 assorted photographs of Nasmyth's crater
One of 15 assorted photographs of Nasmyth's crater models illuminated at a low angle showing Vesuvius and neighbourhood of Naples and originally mounted in Nasmyth's own album. Illustrated in the book, 'The Moon' by Nasmyth & Carpenter (London, 1874), plate VI right.
Sample radio receiver for the James Clerk Maxwell sub-millimetre radio telescope, 1986
Sample 230-270 GHz VHF radio receiver for the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope (JCMT), 1986
Belgium Mars globe, 1892
Mars globe, 4-inch in diameter prepared by L. Niesten from observations made at Brussel from 1877, with gores published by Lebeque & Co., 1892. Presented to the Royal Astronomical Society c. 1903-10 by Louis Niesten (RAS No.135b).
One of 15 assorted photographs of Nasmyth's crate
One of 15 assorted photographs of Nasmyth's crater models illuminated at a low angle showing the region of Lunar Apennines and originally mounted in Nasmyth's own album. Illustrated in the book, 'The Moon' by Nasmyth & Carpenter (London, 1874), plate IX.
Digital Optical Module (DOM) from the IceCube neutrino detector.
Digital Optical Module (DOM) from the IceCube neutrino detector. Designed by IceCube consortium led by University of Wisconsin-Madison and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, USA and deployed at the IceCube observatory in Antarctica.
Spare mirror segment for the High Energy Stereoscopic System (HESS)
Spare mirror segment from the H.E.S.S. (High Energy Stereoscopic System ) Telescope, 2000-2003 (see note)
star and sundial, Dutch, 1681
Combined star and sun (altitude) dial, signed Anthony Sneewins, Delft, Holland, dated 1681.
Lunar photograph taken with the Kew Photoheliograph
One of four diapositive photographs in passe partout frame showing the Moon, originals taken by Warren De La Rue using the Kew photoheliograph.
Photograph of Drawing of Solar Chromosphere
One five sheets of photographs representing the daily drawings of the solar chromosphere made by the spectroscope of "Prof. L. Respighi"
Colour print showing three sketches of craters on the Moon
One of two colour engravings (Pl.4) with window mounts showing colour sketches of three captioned lunar craters, Torricelli, Agrippa with Godin and Eratostenes, observed and drawn by Etienne Leopold Trouvelot in 1872.
Lunar Crater model
Electrotype copy of a plaster model showing the lunar crater, Eratosthenes in a hinged mahogany case. Made by Henry Blunt from observations of the Moon made with his own reflecting telescope at his home in Shrewsbury. The model was donated by the commissioners for the 1851 Great Exhibition held at the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London. It is thought to be copy of the lunar model exhibited under Class X, item No.372 in exhibition catalogue. The original appears to be in the possession of the Royal Astronomical Society
Patent model in brass of a pantoscope, invented by
Patent model in brass of a pantoscope, invented by Charles Emmanuel of Paris, patented in America [Patent No. 45,954 January 17, 1865] and made by T. Auvray, Paris.
Astronomical quadrant with stand, 1685-1724
Brass quadrant of 23-inch radius with diagonal scales on a wrought iron stand by Butterfield of Paris. The quadrant is fitted with a telescopic sight and an enclosed plumb bob. This fine brass and iron quadrant was displayed at the Special Loan Collection of Scientific Apparatus exhibition held at the South Kensington Museum in 1876.
Italian celestial globe, 1636
Celestial globe, by Matthaus Greuter, Rome, diameter 20 inches
Solar eclipse photograph taken with the Kew Photoheliograph
One of four diapositive photographs in passe partout frame showing the Sun during the partial phase of the 1860 solar eclipse viewed from Northern Spain. Originals taken by Warren De La Rue using the Kew photoheliograph.
Dutch celestial globe, 1625
Celestial globe by Petrus Plancius, 1625, incorporating observations of Tycho Brahe, with brass meridian and hour circles, on wooden stand
Calotype print by Nasmyth of lunar crater models and a refracting telescope outside his home in England, 1858
One of six calotype prints, showing two plaster relief models of the lunar surface, a refracting telescope on an equatorial mounting and various accessories. Taken by James Nasmyth at the front of his large house, 'Hammerhurst' near Penshurst in Kent and dated 24th March 1858.