Nevil Maskelyne

The Rev Dr Nevil Maskelyne DD FRS FRSE (6 October 1732 – 9 February 1811) was the fifth British Astronomer Royal.[a] He held the office from 1765 to 1811. He was the first person to scientifically measure the weight of the planet Earth.

Rev. Dr Nevil Maskelyne
Maskelyne Nevil
Born6 October 1732
London, England
Died9 February 1811 (aged 78)
Greenwich, England
NationalityUnited Kingdom
Known forAstronomer Royal
AwardsRoyal Society Copley Medal (1775)
Scientific career
InstitutionsFellow of the Royal Society, 1758
Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1784. Honorary Member of the French Institute


Maskelyne was born in London, the third son of Edmund Maskelyne of Purton in Wiltshire, and his wife, Elizabeth Booth. Maskelyne's father died when he was 12, leaving the family in reduced circumstances. Maskelyne attended Westminster School and was still a pupil there when his mother died in 1748. His interest in astronomy had begun while at Westminster School, shortly after the eclipse of 14 July 1748.[1]

Maskelyne entered St Catharine's College, Cambridge in 1749, graduating as seventh wrangler in 1754.[2] Ordained as a minister in 1755, he became a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge in 1756 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1758.[3]

Originally pursuing his career as a minister he was Rector of Shrawardine in Shropshire from 1775 to 1782 and then Rector of North Runcton in Norfolk from 1782. In 1784 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. His proposers were John Playfair, John Robison and Dugald Stewart.[4]

On 21 August 1784 Maskelyne married Sophia Rose, then of St Andrew Holborn, Middlesex.[5] Their only child, Margaret (25 June 1785[6]–1858), was the mother of Mervyn Herbert Nevil Story-Maskelyne (1823–1911) professor of mineralogy at Oxford (1856–95). Maskelyne's sister, Margaret (1735-1817), married Robert Clive.

Nevil Maskelyne is buried in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, the parish church of the village of Purton, Wiltshire, England.[7]


Measurement of longitude

In 1760 the Royal Society appointed Maskelyne as an astronomer on one of their expeditions to observe the 1761 transit of Venus. He and Robert Waddington were sent to the island of St. Helena. This was an important observation since accurate measurements would allow the accurate calculation of Earth's distance from the Sun, which would in turn allow the actual rather than the relative scale of the solar system to be calculated. This would allow, it was argued, the production of more accurate astronomical tables, in particular those predicting the motion of the Moon.[8]

Bad weather prevented observation of the transit, but Maskelyne used his journey to trial a method of determining longitude using the position of the moon, which became known as the lunar distance method.[9] He returned to England, resuming his position as curate at Chipping Barnet in 1761, and began work on a book, publishing the lunar-distance method of longitude calculation and providing tables to facilitate its use in 1763 in The British Mariner's Guide, which included the suggestion that to facilitate the finding of longitude at sea, lunar distances should be calculated beforehand for each year and published in a form accessible to navigators.

In 1763 the Board of Longitude sent Maskelyne to Barbados in order to carry out an official trial of three contenders for a Longitude reward. He was to carry out observations on board ship and to calculate the longitude of the capital, Bridgetown by observation of Jupiter's satellites. The three methods on trial were John Harrison's sea watch (now known as H4), Tobias Mayer's lunar tables and a marine chair made by Christopher Irwin, intended to help observations of Jupiter's satellites on board ship. Both Harrison's watch and lunar-distance observations based on Mayer's lunar tables produced results within the terms of the Longitude Act, although the former appeared to be more accurate. Harrison's watch had produced Bridgetown's longitude with an error of less than ten miles, while the lunar-distance observations were accurate to within 30 nautical miles.

Maskelyne reported the results of the trial to the Board of Longitude on 9 February 1765.[10] On 26 February 1765 he had been appointed Astronomer Royal[1] following the unexpected death of Nathaniel Bliss in 1764; making him ex officio a Commissioner of Longitude. The Commissioners understood that the timekeeping and astronomical methods of finding longitude were complementary. The lunar-distance method could more quickly be rolled out, with Maskelyne's proposal that tables like those in his "The British Mariner's Guide" be published for each year. This proposal led to the establishment of The Nautical Almanac, the production of which, as Astronomer Royal, Maskelyne oversaw. Taking even occasional astronomical observations was also the only way to check that a timekeeper was keeping good time over the course of a long voyage. The Commissioners also needed to know that more than one sea watch could be made, and that Harrison's methods could be communicated to other watchmakers.[11]

The Board of Longitude therefore decided that rewards should be given to Harrison (£10,000), Mayer (£3000, posthumously) and others involved in helping to develop the lunar-distance method.[12][13] Harrison was told that a further reward of £10,000 would be forthcoming if he could demonstrate the replicability of his watch. It is worth noting that although Harrison and his son later accused Maskelyne of bias against the timekeeping method, charges repeated by authors such as Dava Sobel and Rupert Gould, Maskelyne never submitted a method or an idea of his own for consideration by the Board of Longitude. He was to play a significant role in having marine timekeepers, as well as the lunar-distance method, developed, tested and used on board voyages of exploration.[1]

Since the observations that fed into the Nautical Almanac were made at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, the Greenwich meridian became the reference for measurements of longitude in the Royal Navy, and on British Admiralty charts. It was chosen for adoption as the international Prime Meridian in 1884.[14][15]

Measurement of latitude

Maskelyne took a great interest in various geodetical operations, including the measurement of the length of a degree of latitude in Maryland and Pennsylvania,[16] executed by Mason and Dixon in 1766 – 1768, and later the determination of the relative longitude of Greenwich and Paris.[17] On the French side the work was conducted by Count Cassini, Legendre, and Méchain; on the English side by General Roy. This triangulation was the beginning of the great trigonometrical survey which was subsequently extended all over Britain. His observations appeared in four large folio volumes from 1776–1811, some of them being reprinted in Samuel Vince's Elements of Astronomy.[18]

Schiehallion experiment

In 1772 Maskelyne proposed to the Royal Society what was to become known as the Schiehallion experiment (named after the mountain on which it was performed), for the determination of the Earth’s density using a plumb line. He was not the first to suggest this, Pierre Bouguer and Charles-Marie de la Condamine having attempted the same experiment in 1738.

Maskelyne performed his experiment in 1774 on Schiehallion in Perthshire, Scotland,[19] the mountain being chosen due to its regular conical shape which permitted a reasonably accurate determination of its volume. The apparent difference of latitude between two stations on opposite sides of the mountain were compared with the real difference of latitude obtained by triangulation.

From Maskelyne's observations Charles Hutton deduced a density for the earth 4.5 times that of water (the modern value is 5.515).

Other work

Maskelyne’s first contribution to astronomical literature was A Proposal for Discovering the Annual Parallax of Sirius, published in 1760.[20] Subsequent contributions to the Transactions contained his observations of the transits of Venus (1761 and 1769), on the tides at Saint Helena (1762), and on various astronomical phenomena at Saint Helena (1764) and at Barbados (1764).

Maskelyne also introduced several practical improvements, such as the measurement of time to tenths of a second and prevailed upon the government to replace Bird’s mural quadrant by a repeating circle 6 feet (1.8 m) in diameter. The new instrument was constructed by Edward Troughton but Maskelyne did not live to see it completed.

Maskelyne in literature and the arts

Grave of Nevil Maskelyne
Maskelyne's tomb in Purton, Wiltshire



  1. ^ Dates before 14 September 1752 are in the Julian calendar, which was in force in the UK at that time.


  1. ^ a b c Howse, Derek (1989). Nevil Maskelyne: The Seaman's Astronomer. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 052136261X.
  2. ^ "Nevil Maskelyne (MSKN749N)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  3. ^ "Election Certificate". Royal Society Library. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  4. ^ Biographical Index of Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X.
  5. ^ "London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932 for Nevil Maskelyne". 21 August 1784. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  6. ^ "London, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 for Nevil Maskelyne". 26 July 1785. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  7. ^ Maskelyne's grave can be seen by going through the church gates and veering to the right, against the right outside wall of the church.
  8. ^ Woolf, Harry (1959). The Transits of Venus. A study of eighteenth-century science. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  9. ^ Nevil Maskelyne Journal of a Voyage to St Helena, RGO 4/150, Cambridge Digital Library
  10. ^ "Confirmed Minutes of the Board of Longitude". Cambridge Digital Library.
  11. ^ Dunn, Richard; Higgitt, Rebekah (2014). Finding Longitude: How Ships, Clocks and Stars Helped Solve the Longitude Problem. Glasgow: Collins. ISBN 978-0007525867.
  12. ^ Higgitt, Rebekah. "Barbados or bust: longitude on trial". Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  13. ^ Howse, Derek (1998). "Britain's Board of Longitude: The Finances, 1714-1828" (PDF). The Mariner's Mirror. 84: 400–417. doi:10.1080/00253359.1998.10656713. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  14. ^ (JR Wills The Royal Society)
  15. ^ Dunn, Richard; Higgitt, Rebekah (2014). Finding Longitude: How Ships, Clocks and Stars Helped Solve the Longitude Problem. Glasgow: Collins. p. 221. ISBN 978-0007525867.
  16. ^ Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. lviii. 323
  17. ^ Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. lxxvii. 151
  18. ^ Vince, Samuel (1811). The Elements of Astronomy: Designed for the Use of Students in the University. J. Smith.
  19. ^ Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. 1. 495
  20. ^ Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. ii. 889
  21. ^ "Papers of Nevil Maskelyne: Certificate and seal from Catherine the Great, Russia". Cambridge Digital Library. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  22. ^ "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter M" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 28 July 2014.
  23. ^ Wales, William (1777). The Original Astronomical Observations, Made in the Course of a Voyage towards the South Pole, and Around the World. London. p. lv.

External links

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Maskelyne, Nevil" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 837.

Holdout (gambling)

In gambling jargon, a holdout is any of numerous accessories used by cheats to help them "hold-out" a card (or cards) during a card game. Some holdout devices are extremely simple and require moderate or advanced manipulative skill to be used properly. On the other hand, there is a group of holdout devices which are mechanical in nature, therefore they fall under a separate category of holdout machines. Even if those machines are complex mechanical apparatuses, they still require a good level of skill from the cheat's part, to be used well.

Most of the holdout devices used today were invented in the 19th century. One of the most successful of these devices was used by P. J. Kepplinger around 1888. The Kepplinger holdout device and many others were described in detail by the magician John Nevil Maskelyne.The main purpose of any holdout device is to temporarily hold a card out of the game, so that the cheat may retrieve it at some later convenient time. Only one card out of play can tremendously increase the odds of winning. The cheat not only knows the identity of this card (an advantage that no other player has) and knows that it couldn't possibly be dealt to any other player, but this card also serves as if an extra card was dealt to the cheat on every round. In effect, this is as if the cheat was dealt a bonus card, so that he may decide which combination of cards he likes best and finally discard the unwanted one, only to possibly use it on the next round (or at least switch it for a better one).

Jasper Maskelyne

Jasper Maskelyne (1902–1973) was a British stage magician in the 1930s and 1940s. He was one of an established family of stage magicians, the son of Nevil Maskelyne and a grandson of John Nevil Maskelyne. He is most remembered, however, for his entertaining accounts of his work for British military intelligence during the Second World War, in which he claims that he created large-scale ruses, deception and camouflage.

John Bird (astronomer)

John Bird (1709–1776) was a British mathematical instrument maker. He was born at Bishop Auckland. He came to London in 1740 where he worked for Jonathan Sisson and George Graham. By 1745 he had his own business in the Strand. Bird was commissioned to make a brass quadrant 8 feet across for the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, where it was mounted on February 16, 1750, and where it is still preserved. Soon after, duplicates were ordered for France, Spain and Russia.

Bird supplied the astronomer James Bradley with further instruments of such quality that the commissioners of longitude paid him £500 (a huge sum) on condition that he take on an apprentice for 7 years and produce in writing upon oath, a full account of his working methods. This was the origin of Bird's two treatises The Method of Dividing Mathematical Instruments (1767) and The Method of Constructing Mural Quadrants (1768). Both had a foreword from the astronomer-royal Nevil Maskelyne. When the Houses of Parliament burned down in 1834, the standard yards of 1758 and 1760, both constructed by Bird, were destroyed.

Bird, with his fellow County Durham savant William Emerson, makes an appearance in Mason and Dixon the novel by Thomas Pynchon.

John Mackenzie Bacon

John Mackenzie Bacon, FRAS (19 June 1846 – 26 December 1904) was an English astronomer, aeronaut, and lecturer. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1888. He and his daughter Gertrude Bacon made some of the earliest attempts to film a total solar eclipse. Their first expedition, to Vadso, Lapland (1896), was unsuccessful due to cloudy weather. They went home and planned another, this time to Buxar, India (Dec 1897-1898). They succeeded in filming the eclipse, but unfortunately the film has been lost.

A third attempt with John Nevil Maskelyne in Wadesborough, North Carolina (May 1900) was also successful. Bacon and Maskelyne went on to file a patent for inflating balloons.

John Nevil Maskelyne

John Nevil Maskelyne (22 December 1839 – 18 May 1917) was an English stage magician and inventor of the pay toilet, along with other Victorian-era devices. Working with magicians George Alfred Cooke and David Devant, many of his illusions are still performed today. His book Sharps and Flats: A Complete Revelation of the Secrets of Cheating at Games of Chance and Skill is considered a classic overview of card sharp practices, and in 1914 he founded the Occult Committee, a group whose remit was to "investigate claims to supernatural power and to expose fraud".

John Walsh (scientist)

John Walsh (1 July 1726 – 9 March 1795) was a British scientist and Secretary to the Governor of Bengal.John was son of Joseph Walsh, Secretary to the Governor of Fort St. George and cousin to Nevil Maskelyne, the Astronomer Royal, and his sister Margaret, the wife of Lord Clive.

He entered the English East India Company at the age of fifteen and eventually became Clive's private secretary. During the 1757 Plassey campaign against the Nawab of Bengal, Siraj Ud Daulah, John Walsh was awarded £56,000 in prize money. Upon his return to England in 1759, his fortune was estimated at £147,000, and he quickly sought to purchase the necessary trappings of aristocratic power in eighteenth century Britain: land and political influence. In late 1764, Walsh purchased the large estate of Warfield Park, near Bracknell in Berkshire and spent the next two years doing it up. He was MP for Worcester from 1761 to 1780. He continued to serve Robert Clive, or 'Clive of India' as he became known, and attempted to form a parliamentary interest in his favour.

In later life, John Walsh's interests were scientific, with a particular interest in electric fish. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1770 and awarded their Copley Medal in 1773 for a paper on the electrical properties of torpedo fish.Upon his death in 1795, Sir John Walsh, as he was then known, left his fortune to his niece, Margaret Walsh, and her husband, John Benn, on the condition that they change their surname to Benn-Walsh. With his own fortune of £80,000 made in India while Assistant to the Resident of Benares, his brother-in-law Francis Fowke in the 1770s, John Benn-Walsh had become a very wealthy man and went on to inherit extensive estates in Warfield, Buckinghamshire, in Radnorshire, and in Ormathwaite, Cumberland and be created Baron Ormathwaite.

Los Angeles Conference on Magic History

The Los Angeles Conference on Magic History is a biennial invitation-only conference created to showcase historical magic. The conference was started in 1989, designed to highlight various aspects of the history of magic from around the world. Each conference features a series of re-created performances and lectures from famous and well noted magicians. The event is co-hosted by Ricky Jay, Mike Caveney, John Gaughan and Jim Steinmeyer. Past conferences have featured unique recreations of historical illusions, including effects from Guy Jarrett, David Devant, John Nevil Maskelyne and Dr. Samuel Cox Hooker.


Maskelyne is the surname of several people:

Nevil Maskelyne (1732–1811), the fifth British Astronomer Royal

Mervyn Herbert Nevil Story-Maskelyne (1823–1911)

Nevill Maskelyne Smyth, served in the First World War 1914–18.

The Maskelyne family of magicians:

John Nevil Maskelyne (1829–1917), a British stage magician of the 19th century

Nevil Maskelyne (magician) (1863–1924), son of John Nevil

Jasper Maskelyne (1902–1973), a British stage magician in the 1930s and 1940s, son of NevilOthersMaskelyne, a solitary lunar crater

Maskelynes Islands, in Vanuatu and the

Maskelynes language

Maskelyne (crater)

Maskelyne is a solitary lunar impact crater that lies in the southeast part of the Mare Tranquillitatis. Its diameter is 22 km. It was named after British astronomer Nevil Maskelyne. The outer rim has a somewhat polygonal shape, although it is generally circular. The inner walls are terraced and there is a low central rise at the midpoint of the floor.

The landing site of the Apollo 11 expedition is located about 250 kilometers to the west-southwest. To the northeast are Wallach and Aryabhata. To the southeast is the bright Censorinus. To the south are the lunar mountains informally known as Duke Island and Boot Hill. There are sinuous rilles southwest and west of Maskelyne - these were informally named Sidewinder and Diamondback by the Apollo 10 crew and referred to as such by later missions, especially Apollo 11.

Maskelyne Islands

The Maskelyne Islands, often abbreviated as the Maskelynes, are a small chain of low islands that forms part of Vanuatu in the Pacific Ocean. Among the islands are Awei, Avock, Leumanang, Uluveo, and Vulai. Uluveo (also called Maskelyne) is the main island in the group and has three villages.The islands lie at the southeastern end of Malakula. They were named by Captain Cook after the Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne as he sailed north from Port Resolution on Tanna in HMS Resolution in late 1774.

Maskelyne Passage

Maskelyne Passage (65°50′S 65°24′W) is a passage between Larrouy Island and Tadpole Island to the east, and Cat Island, Runnelstone Rock and Hummock Island to the west, off the west coast of Graham Land, Antarctica. It was photographed by Hunting Aerosurveys Ltd in 1956–57, and mapped from these photos by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey. It was named by the UK Antarctic Place-Names Committee in 1959 for Englishman Nevil Maskelyne, Astronomer Royal for many years till his death in 1811, who started The Nautical Almanac in 1767.

Metamorphosis (disambiguation)

Metamorphosis is a biological process by which an animal physically develops after birth.

Metamorphosis may also refer to:

Metamorphism, a geological process

Metamorphosis (illusion), a stage illusion invented by John Nevil Maskelyne

Shapeshifting, a common theme in mythology, folklore and other fiction

Misdirection (magic)

In theatrical magic, misdirection is a form of deception in which the performer draws audience attention to one thing to distract it from another. Managing audience attention is the aim of all theater, and the foremost requirement of all magic acts. Whether the magic is of a "pocket trick" variety, or, a large stage production, misdirection is the central secret. The term describes either the effect (the observer's focus on an unimportant object) or the sleight of hand or patter (the magician's speech) that creates it.

It is difficult to say who first coined the term, but an early reference to misdirection appears in the writing of an influential performer and writer, Nevil Maskelyne: "It consists admittedly in misleading the spectator's senses, in order to screen from detection certain details for which secrecy is required." Around the same time, magician, artist and author Harlan Tarbell noted, "Nearly the whole art of sleight of hand depends on this art of misdirection."Henry Hay describes the central act of conjuring as "a manipulation of interest."Magicians misdirect audience attention in two basic ways. One leads the audience to look away for a fleeting moment, so that they don't detect some sleight or move. The other approach re-frames the audience's perception, distracting them into thinking that an extraneous factor has much to do with the accomplishment of the feat when it really has no bearing on the effect at all. Dariel Fitzkee notes that "The true skill of the magician is in the skill he exhibits in influencing the spectators mind." Additionally, sometimes a prop such as a "magic wand" aids in misdirection.


Nevil may refer to:


Alex Nevil (born 1965), American actor and younger brother of Robbie Nevil

Dwight Nevil (born 1944), American professional golfer

Robbie Nevil (born 1958), American pop singer-songwriter/producer/guitaristGiven name:

Nevil Brownjohn GBE KCB CMG MC (1897–1973), Quartermaster-General to the Forces

Nevil Dede (born 1975), Tirana's current coach and a former football defender

Nevil Macready, GCMG, KCB, PC (Ire) (1862–1946), British Army officer

John Nevil Maskelyne (1839–1917), English stage magician and inventor of the pay toilet

Nevil Maskelyne FRS (1732–1811), the fifth English Astronomer Royal

Nevil Maskelyne (magician) (1863–1924), British magician and inventor

Nevil Story Maskelyne (1823–1911), English geologist and politician

Henry Nevil Payne (died 1710), dramatist and agitator for the Roman Catholic cause in Scotland and England

Nevil Shed, American basketball player

Nevil Shute (1899–1960), British novelist and aeronautical engineer

Nevil Sidgwick (1873–1952), English theoretical chemist who contributed to the theory of valency and chemical bonding

Nevil Maskelyne (MP)

Nevil Maskelyne (1611 – 30 August 1679) was an English landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons in 1660.

Maskelyne was the son of Edmund Maskelyne of Purton and his wife Catherine Davys, daughter of Richard Davys of Little Mylton, Worcestershire. He was a student of Middle Temple in 1627. He succeeded to the estate of Purton on the death of his father in 1630. He avoided involvement in the Civil War, and did not hold any office until the eve of the Restoration. He had an interest at Cricklade, four miles from Purton, as lord of the hundred and of the borough. In 1660, he was elected Member of Parliament for Cricklade in the Convention Parliament where he made no speeches was not named to any committee. He did not stand in 1661. He was awarded the grant of a weekly market and four fairs a year at Cricklade on 18 March 1662 after he reported that he had seized for the king some property of the regicide Sir John Danvers. In 1667 he endowed a parish charity and a Good Friday sermon.Maskelyne died at the age of about 68 and was buried at Purton.Maskelyne married firstly on 20 September 1630, Jane Norden, daughter of William Norden of Rowde, Wiltshire and had two sons and a daughter. She died in 1633 and was buried on 28 July 1633. He married secondly on 7 September 1635, Sybil Jacob, daughter of Thomas Jacob of Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire and had four daughters. She died in 1653 and was buried on 30 December 1652.

Nevil Maskelyne (disambiguation)

Nevil Maskelyne (1732–1811) was the fifth English Astronomer Royal.

Nevil Maskelyne may also refer to:

Nevil Maskelyne (magician) (1863–1924), British magician and inventor

Nevil Maskelyne (MP) (1611–1679), English MP for Cricklade

Nevil Story Maskelyne (1823–1911), English geologist and politician

Nevil Maskelyne (magician)

Nevil Maskelyne (1863–1924) was a British magician and inventor.

Observatory Inlet

Observatory Inlet is an inlet on the North Coast of British Columbia. It is a northward extension of Portland Inlet, other branches of which include the Portland Canal. The entrance of Observatory Inlet, from Portland Inlet, lies between Ramsden Point and Nass Point. Ramsden Point also marks, to the west, the entrance of Portland Canal. Observatory Inlet was named by George Vancouver in 1793, because he set up his observatory on the shore of the inlet, at Salmon Cove, in order to calibrate his chronometers. His two vessels, HMS Discovery and HMS Chatham, stayed in Salmon Cove from July 23 to August 17, 1793. During this time a boat surveying expedition under Vancouver himself explored Behm Canal. Vancouver also named three headlands at the entrance of Observatory Inlet: Maskelyne Point, for Nevil Maskelyne, the Astronomer Royal, Wales Point, for William Wales, the mathematical master who sailed with James Cook, and Ramsden Point, after the famed mathematical instrument-maker Jesse Ramsden.

Robert Waddington (mathematician)

Robert Waddington (died 1779) was a mathematician, astronomer and teacher of navigation. He is best known as one of the observers appointed by the Royal Society to observe the 1761 transit of Venus with Nevil Maskelyne on the island of Saint Helena. On that voyage they made successful use of the lunar-distance method of establishing longitude at sea. Waddington subsequently taught the method at his academy in London and published a navigation manual, A Practical Method for Finding the Longitude and Latitude of a Ship at Sea, by Observations of the Moon (1763).

Copley Medallists (1751–1800)

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