The culprit in this case was Nevil Maskelyne
, a magician.
It appeared in the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions as part of an investigation by England's Astronomer Royal, Nevil Maskelyne
, titled "An Account of an Appearance of Light, like a Star, Seen in the dark Part of the Moon, on Friday the 7th of March, 1794." Here Maskelyne writes that soon after he learned about Wilkins, his own relation Sir George Booth and his wife paid him a visit at the Royal Observatory grounds in Greenwich.
Attacks on technology aren't new, and, in fact, the first instance of such an act can be traced back more than 110 years ago to Nevil Maskelyne
, a British music hall magician.
Among the Magic Circle's founders were illusionists David Devant, its first president, and John Nevil Maskelyne
In 1775 Nevil Maskelyne
read the results to the Royal Society to confirm the effect of mountain mass.
died; appointed Astronomer Royal in 1765; founder of the Nautical Almanac; measured the density of the Earth.
The first person to note it was a British stage musician named Nevil Maskelyne
. In 1908 he recorded dolefully that no matter how small the risk involved in performing a trick, that risk had a horrible tendency to become a likelihood on stage.
Indeed, it was endorsed by no less of an authority than John Nevil Maskelyne
, perhaps the most noted British magician of the time.
Rather than disturb the royal astronomer, Nevil Maskelyne
, who would observe how long it took for Venus to cross in front of the Sun's disc at the observatory at Greenwich, the king ordered his to be constructed on his estate at Richmond.
I was also pleased to see a reference to David Cartwright's wonderful 1969 study of the tides at the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, 208 years after Charles Mason (of Mason-Dixon fame) assisted Nevil Maskelyne
in measuring sea level changes there; the project compensated for the cloudiness that prevented them from achieving their primary objective of observing the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun.
. Logic (and cloudy nights) should have put an end to this exercise in futility.