The Early History of Astronomy at the Cape of Good Hope

The project involves the writing of a major monograph, commissioned by the Brenthurst Press in Johannesburg, on the history of astronomy and navigation at the Cape of Good Hope from the late fifteenth century until the middle of the nineteenth century – encompassing times when European expeditions came to the Cape to study the southern sky.

A separate, more detailed, book will cover the years 1833/34 when Thomas Henderson was the Astronomer at the Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, and made an accurate measurement of the distance to a nearby star (Alpha Centauri), which was arguably the first major quantitative contribution to modern physical science made in South Africa.

Project leader(s):
  • Brian Warner (Cape Town)

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