Wilson, William Edward

William Edward Wilson (1851-1908)

William Edward Wilson, astronomer, was born in 1851 at Daramona, County Westmeath and was educated at home. At the age of nineteen, he took part in an expedition to Algeria to observe a total eclipse and this inspired a lifelong interest in astronomy.

Wilson carried out three main projects: the first reliable determination of the temperature of he solar photosphere, electrical measurements of the brightness of stars and photography of the sun and other celestial objects. Many of his investigations appeared in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society including an observation of the transit of Venus in 1882 and a photographic search for a planet beyond Neptune in 1901/01. In 1900 he took part of the Royal Irish Academy - Royal Dublin Society joint eclipse expedition to Plasencia in Spain.

Wilson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1896 and he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree by Trinity College Dublin in 1901.


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