Jeremiah Horrocks, Samuel Foster, Nathaniel Nye - A Detective Story

by Mike Frost

Nathanell Nye

Jeremiah Horrocks, Samuel Foster, Nathaniel Nye - A Detective Story - a talk by Mike Frost


Jeremiah Horrocks was the first man to predict and then observe a Transit of Venus, in November 1639. It’s well known that he contacted two other people, to ask them to look out for the Transit. Horrocks’s brother, Jonas, was unable to see the spectacle from Toxteth, Lancashire, because of cloud. William Crabtree, of Broughton, Manchester, had more luck, and was able to corroborate Horrocks’s observations from Much Hoole, Lancashire.


It is much less well known that Jeremiah Horrocks attempted to warn a third astronomer – Samuel Foster, who had been Professor of Astronomy at Gresham College, London . When I started to research the life of Foster I found out that he was part of a group of pioneering astronomers active in the Midlands of England in the years around the English Civil War.


This talk is about Samuel Foster and his fellow observers – John Twysden, John Palmer and Walter Foster. The story leads on to the mysterious figure of Nathaniel Nye, “mathematitian, astronomer, and master gunner of the city of Worcester”.


Next talk Jeremiah Horrocks and New England


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