Introduction: Observatory Techniques in Nineteenth-Century Science and Society
David Aubin, Charlotte Bigg, and H. Otto Sibum
Observatories--Temples of the most sublime of the sciences, . . . mysterious
sanctuaries where, in the silent night and away from the busy hum of men, philosophers are in
intimate communication with the innumerable worlds which people the Universe.
--Amédée Guillemin (1864).1
The fact is that when an astronomer goes into his observatory for his night's work he
finds it usually convenient to leave all the ecstatic and most of the poetic portions of his
--Robert Ball (1892).2
The object of the Observatory is the accurate and systematic observation of the
heavenly bodies, for the advancement of Astronomical Science; co-operation in Geodetic and
Nautical Surveys; meteorological and magnetic investigations, and the improvement of
Tables useful in Navigation.
--William. C. Bond (1894). 3
What is an observatory? The term conjures up images of a neoclassical monument