Rosse , William Parsons
Rosse , William Parsons, third earl of
(1800–1867) Irish astronomer and telescope builder
The eldest son of the second earl of Rosse, William Parsons was born at York in England. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and Oxford University, where he graduated in 1822. He was a member of parliament from 1822 until 1834, when he resigned to devote himself to science.
Rosse's main aim was to build a telescope at least as large as those of William Herschel. As Herschel had left no details of how to grind large mirrors, Rosse had to rediscover all this for himself. It was not until 1839 that he had made a 3-inch (8-cm) mirror; this was followed by mirrors of 15 inches (38 cm), 24 inches (61 cm), and 36 inches (91 cm) until, in 1842, he felt confident enough to start work on his 72-inch (183-cm) masterpiece. He was only successful on the fifth casting. It weighed 8960 pounds (4064 kg), cost £12,000, and became known as the ‘Leviathan of Corkstown’. Its tube was over 50 feet (15 m) long and because of winds it had to be protected by two masonry piers 50 feet high and 23 feet (7 m) apart in which it was supported by an elaborate system of platforms, chains, and pulleys.
The giant reflector suffered, despite the cost and time, from two major defects. The climate of central Ireland is such that very few nights of viewing are possible during the year. Also, viewing (when possible), was restricted by the piers to a few degrees of the north–south meridian. Despite this Rosse made a couple of discoveries. He was the first to identify a spiral nebula and went on to discover 15 of them. He also named and studied the Crab nebula, which has been so important to contemporary astronomy. The telescope was finally dismantled in 1908. More than the individual discoveries made by Rosse, the Leviathan was important in the warnings it gave telescope builders. Good big mirrors were needed but they were by no means sufficient; in addition a good site and an adequate mounting were necessary.

Scientists. . 2011.

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  • Rosse, William Parsons, 3er conde de — (17 jun. 1800, York, Inglaterra–31 oct. 1867, Monkstown, County Cork, Irlanda). Astrónomo irlandés. Su Leviathan, de 16,5 m (54 pies) de largo, fue el mayor telescopio reflector del s. XIX, y su espejo tenía un diámetro de 183 cm (72 pulg.). Con… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Rosse, William Parsons, 3rd earl of — born June 17, 1800, York, Eng. died Oct. 31, 1867, Monkstown, County Cork, Ire. Irish astronomer. His Leviathan, 54 ft (16.5 m) long, was the largest reflecting telescope of the 19th century, and its mirror had a diameter of 72 in. (183 cm). With …   Universalium

  • ROSSE, WILLIAM PARSONS, THIRD EARL OF —    born in York; devoted to the study of astronomy; constructed reflecting telescopes, and a monster one at the cost of £30,000 at Parsonstown, his seat in Ireland, by means of which important discoveries were made, specially in the resolution of …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • William Parsons — William Parsons, 3. Earl of Rosse, KP (* 17. Juni 1800 in York; † 31. Oktober 1867 in Birr Castle) war ein irischer Astronom. In himmelskundlichen Publikationen wird sein Name oft als Lord Rosse abgekürzt. William Parsons, 3. Earl of Rosse …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Parsons, 3. Earl of Rosse — William Parsons, 3. Earl of Rosse, KP (* 17. Juni 1800 in York; † 31. Oktober 1867 in Birr Castle) war ein irischer Astronom. In himmelskundlichen Publikationen wird sein Name oft als Lord Rosse abgekürzt. William Parsons, 3. Earl of Rosse …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Parsons — William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse Naissance 17 juin 1800 York (UK) Décès 31 octobre  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • William Parsons — Nombre …   Wikipedia Español

  • William Parsons — may refer to:*William Parsons (surveyor) (1701 ndash;1757), Surveyor General, founder of Easton, Pennsylvania *Sir William Parsons, 4th Baronet (1731 1791) *William Parsons (poet) (1764 ca. 1828), English writer associated with the Della Cruscan… …   Wikipedia

  • William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse — Infobox Scientist name = William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse box width = image width =200px caption = William Parsons, 3rd Earl of Rosse birth date = June 17, 1800 birth place = York death date = October 31, 1867 death place = residence =… …   Wikipedia

  • William Parsons, 5th Earl of Rosse — William Edward Parsons, 5th Earl of Rosse (14 June 1873 ndash;10 June 1918) was the son of Lawrence Parsons, 4th Earl of Rosse and Frances Cassandra Hawke. He was elected a Representative Peer in 1911. He fought in the First World War and died on …   Wikipedia

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