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On Friday July 5th, Professor Andy Lawrence will give a talk at a meeting of the Astronomical Society of Edinburgh (ASE):

Wandering Astronomers: the past, present and future of mountaintop astronomy

Here is Andy’s description of his talk:

In 1856, Charles Piazzi Smyth, together with his scientist wife Jessie, and a crew of sailors and Spanish helpers, changed the way we do astronomy. They traveled to Tenerife, lived on the mountain in stone houses they built themselves, and made amazing measurements that proved that observations were much better – clearer, sharper, deeper – than from smoky cities like Edinburgh. Piazzi Smyth believed that in the future we would all become “peripatetic astronomers”, wandering from mountain to mountain to get the best results. I will trace the story of how this idea became a reality, and how indeed wandering the globe to use bigger and better telescopes has been the story of my own career for 40 years. However, this golden age of peripatetic mountain astronomy is coming to a close. Why, and what lies ahead? This is the 200th anniversary of the birth of the extraordinary Charles Piazzi Smyth, so it is an excellent time to examine his legacy.

As well as hopefully being an entertaining evening, it is a wonderful opportunity to say thank you to the ASE, who have contributed to Piazzi Smyth’s 200th birthday year, both financially and in human effort – key individuals were involved in the design of the exhibition, planning for the Symposium, and especially in the design and construction of this website. (Many thanks to Mark Phillips!)

This talk is free but spaces are limited so please register for a ticket through the ASE website.