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Russell, Henry Chamberlaine

RUSSELL, HENRY CHAMBERLAINE

(b. West Maitland, New South Wales, Australia, 17 March 1836; d. Sydney, Australia, 22 February 1907)

astronomy, meteorology.

Russell was the son of the Hon. Bourne Russell, Educated at the West Maitland Grammar School and at Sydney University (B.A. 1858), he went to the Sydney observatory as an assistant in January 1859. In August 1870 he was appointed government astronomer. He immediately began to expand the activities of the observatory and established numerous meteorlogical stations throughout New South Wales, manned by volunteer observers.

Russell organized and equipped four Australian parties to observe the transit of Venus on 9 December 1874. At the Paris astrophotographic congress of April 1887 he undertook, on behalf of the Sydney observatory, to cooperate in the construction of a photographic chart and catalog of the sky. (He agreed to cover southern declinations between 54° and 62°). A new objective was purchased, and a new mounting was constructed at the observatory itself, where so much of Russell’ s equipment was built. When he retired in 1905, the photographic survey was near completion.

Russell’ s most widely known contributions to astronomy were photographic. He did much useful naked-eye work on nebulae of various sorts. He was the first man to photograph the nebula η Argus, in June 1890, with a portrait lens of six inches aperture. This was not a very satisfactory lens, and Sir David Gill obtained superior results shortly afterward. By April 1891 Russell had taken better photographs and had become aware of a persistent “dark round spot” in η Argus. Some of Russell’ s claims to have detected a spiral structure in nebulae have not been confirmed. His work on nebulae was badly hampered by his lack of the finest instruments; but his day-to-day astronomical and meteorological recording is still of value, and he played an important part in the establishment of scientific and technical education in Australia.

Russell was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1886 and was vice-chancellor of the University of Sydney in 1891. He married Emily Jane Foss in 1861; she, a son, and four daughters survived him.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

I. Original Works. While at the Sydney observatory Russell published extensively in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, and elsewhere. The Royal Society Catalogue of Scientific Papers, XI (1896) and XVIII (1923), together list 127 items from before 1900 under Russell’ s name. His writings include Photographs of the Milky Way and Nubeculae Taken at Sydney Observatory, 1890 (Sydney, 1891); and The Climate of New South Wales, Descriptive, Historical and Tabular (Sydney, 1897).

II. Secondary Literature. Obituary notices of Russell are in Proceedings of the Royal Society, A80 (1908), lx-lxiii; and Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society,68 (1908), 241.

J. D. North

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Russell, Henry Chamberlaine

RUSSELL, HENRY CHAMBERLAINE

(b. West Maitland, New South Wales, Australia, 17 March 1836; d. Sydney, Australia, 22 February 1907) astronomy, meteorology.

For a complete study of his life and work, see Supplement.

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"Russell, Henry Chamberlaine." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Russell, Henry Chamberlaine." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 16, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/russell-henry-chamberlaine-0

"Russell, Henry Chamberlaine." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Retrieved December 16, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/russell-henry-chamberlaine-0