|HOUGH, Sydney Samuel [FRS]
Professional AstronomerBorn: 1879, Stoke, U.K.
Director of Cape Observatory 1907 – 1923.
Hough became the first President of the Royal Society of South Africa. 1908Summary:
Hough was chief assistant to Gill at the Cape Observatory between 1898 to 1907, and later director (H.M. Astronomer) at the Observatory (1907 – 1923). He inherited one of the finest and best-equipped Observatories in the world from Gill. Hough’s work was mainly to complete Gills programmes. His term as director was not a period of change, but one of solid achievement (by completing Gills programmes).
Hough was educated at Christ’s Hospital, London, and St. Johns College, Cambridge, of which he became a Fellow. [Laing, p. 14.]
Hough was an authority on celestial dynamics and a brilliant mathematician. His special interest was in the dynamical theory of tides. It was deemed that Hough made the greatest advances in this subject since LaPlace. [Laing, p. 14]
Hough came to the Cape Observatory as Chief Assistant to Gill (1989 – 1907). He had little or no experience in practical astronomy, but he learned quickly and Gill came to place complete confidence in him. (Laing states that Hough was “selected with the stated intention that he should be Gill’s successor.” [Laing, p. 14])
Hough was director of the Cape Observatory between 1907 and 1923. During Gill’s time the observatory was transformed into one of the best in the world. Gill designed and obtained instruments, but Hough brought them into service. [Laing, p. 14]
He concentrated on completing Gill’s programmes:
-Five out of twelve volumes of Carte Du Ciel was published by Hough. (Look Gill) He measured with high accuracy, in spherical co-ordinates, over 20 000 positions of stars.
-Hough and his chief assistant Halm did a lot of work on the Southern Hemisphere proper motion of stars.
-He also did the preparation of fundamental catalogues of precise star positions with the transit circle that Gill designed. [Laing, p. 14]
1908: Hough became the first President of the Royal Society of South Africa. [Laing, p. 5.]
Hough’s term as Director was made difficult by World War One and all the budget and other restraints that the war implied..
Educated at Christ’s Hospital, London.
Educated at St. Johns College, Cambridge, of which he became a Fellow.
1989 – 1907Chief Assistant at Royal Cape Observatory.
1907 – 1923 Director of Cape Observatory
Born 1870 at Stoke, Newington, in London.
Educated at Christ’s Hospital and St. Johns College, Cambridge. (He became a fellow.)
1919: Worldwide Influenza Epidemic. Hough’s wife was one of the first victims.
He contracted an illness whilst director (Influenza?)
Died 1923 in England.
Link to the Telescope Manufacturers.
Laing, J.D. (ed.), The Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope 1820 – 1970 Sesquicentennial Offerings, pp. 14 -15.
Moore, P. & Collins, P., Astronomy in Southern Africa, pp. 79 – 80. (General Source)
Smits, P., A Brief History of Astronomy in Southern Africa. (Unpublished).
|Related Internal Links:
Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope.
Related External Links:
Historical Astronomical Posts in Britain and Ireland
Sydney Samuel Hough
Source: JASSA1923, Vol.1 No2, P.1.