was an amateur astronomer, who made his fortune as a brewer. He built
an observatory at Starfield near Liverpool, where he constructed and
mounted a 24" diameter speculum metal mirror in a reflecting telescope
(1943-5). This was the first telescope with a large mirror to be to
be mounted "equatorially" to allow easy tracking of the stars. It thus
allowed an object in the sky, such as a star or planet, to be observed
easily over long periods, move by a simple hand-cranking method. It
paved the way for future development in reflector technology, leading
to the large equatorial instruments seen in many national observatories
around the world.
With this telescope he discovered several planetary satellites, including Triton, moon of Neptune (10 October 1846). He found the eighth moon of Saturn, Hyperion, in 1848, one day after the American William Cranch Bond. But he was first to discover Ariel and Umbriel, satellites of Uranus (1851).
When Queen Victoria visited Liverpool in 1851 Lassell was the only local notable whom she specifically asked to meet,
Lassell built a 48" telescope (1855) and used it ini Malta, which he chose for clearer skies (1861-5), and where he made fresh discoveries in the Trapezium of the Orion Nebula.
Later he became president of the Royal Astronomical Society (1870--2).
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