Last updated 14 Nov 2020

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Hartwell Observatory (MPC Code 997)

Hartwell was the observatory of John Lee (1783-1866) and was used by him and also by Captain W.H. Smyth (1788-1865) from 1839 to 1859. Hartwell was assigned Minor Planet Observatory code 997.

It is described in detail in the book "Notices of the manor and Mansion of Hartwell" by Smyth, published in 1851, now available via the Internet Archive here.

Credit ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption Hartwell House and Observatory. This country house is located in Buckinghamshire, England. The main house has a Jacobean north facade (seen here) and dates from the early 17th century. The observatory (domed structure at left) was built in the 1830s by the British amateur astronomer John Lee (1783-1866). It was in the library here that the British Meteorological Society was founded in 1850. Hartwell House chapel is seen down an avenue of trees at right. This lithograph is from a collection made by Hannah Jackson-Gwilt, daughter of Joseph Gwilt, a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The observatory was demolished some time ago, but floor plans are shown in Smyth's book and reproduced here with the measurement in feet extended to the length of the building:

Using a GoogleEarth image of the present Hartwell House (imagery date 2018) and overlaying an appropriately scaled version of the observatory floor plan, the coordinates of the transit telescope and equatorial telescope have been re-measured.

 

It is expected that the MPC code 997 was issued for the sake of the measurements made at the transit telescope and its coordinates are measured as:

Longitude 000 50' 46.6" W, 51 48' 18.0" N, height 83 m (ground level), 3 m (height of transit instrument)


 

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