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Astronomical labourers: Maskelyne's assistants at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, 1765-1811



Nevil Maskelyne FRS held the post of British Astronomer Royal from 1765 to 1811. As Astronomer Royal, Maskelyne's main task was to ensure that the positions of the Sun, Moon, planets and stars were regularly observed and that those observations were published in an accessible form. To do this, and simultaneously to maintain his role within London's scientific society, Maskelyne hired an assistant to undertake the routine work of the Observatory. This paper considers Maskelyne's assistants at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, identifies who the assistants were, and describes their working conditions

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