Sunday 5 December 2021

Asteroid 1899 FD discovered with Crossley Telescope


The Asteroid 1899 or 452 Hamiltonia was discovered by James Keeler using the 36 inch Crossley Reflector at Lick Observatory on December 6th 1899. The asteroid is named for Mount Hamilton where Keeler was working and where the Lick Observatory is located. 1899 FD was the last asteroid discovered in the 19th century.

The 36 inch reflector had been owned by Edward Crossley of Halifax, Yorkshire who owned Crossley Carpets the largest carpet manufacturer in the world in the 19th century. He purchased it in the 1880s from A. A. Common of Ealing, London. Although it was at the time the largest reflector in England due to the poor observing conditions in the skies over Halifax which was due to the pollution from the many factories in Halifax it was impossible to use the telescope to its best.

In the mid 1890s he donated the telescope to the new Lick Observatory in California. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Crossley reflector at Lick proved to be a real trail blazing telescope leading in astronomical research in many different areas. It was also the largest reflector in America until the building of the 100 inch telescope at Mount Hamilton.

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