John Pond
(1767-1836)

 

English astronomer who as Astronomer Royal 1811-35 reorganized and modernized Greenwich Observatory. Instituting new methods of observation, he went on to produce a catalogue of more than 1,000 stars in 1833.
Pond was born in London and studied at Cambridge. He travelled in several Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries, making astronomical observations wherever possible. When he returned to England in 1798, he established a small private observatory near Bristol. The observations he published led to his appointment as Astronomer Royal.
At the age of 15, Pond noticed errors in the observations being made at the Greenwich Observatory and began a thorough investigation of the declination of a number of fixed stars. By 1806 he had publicly demonstrated that the quadrant at Greenwich had become deformed with age and needed replacing. It was this in particular that prompted his programme to modernize the whole observatory.

 


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