Talk:Nevil Maskelyne

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Assessment = POV?[edit]

The assessment section sounds too much like an apology for Maskelyne. It wasn't just Sobel that paints Maskelyne in bad light - so to do many other writers. David S. Landes points out that Maskelyne initially was biased due to intellectual views on the matter but eventually came to hate Harrison. He refers to both Rupert Gould and G.H. Baillie as judging Maskelyne to be unfair to Harrison. Landes also points to the exchange between Maskelyne and Harrison in M's An Account of the Going of Mr. Harrison's Watch (London 1767) and in H's Remarks on a Pamphlet Lately Published by the Rev. Mr. Maskelyne under the Authority of the Board of Longitude (London 1767).

This section should avoid reference to Sobel exclusively and show a more balanced view - that many thought him unfair but that he had contributions to make nonetheless. Michael Daly 20:08, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Many of these more negative assessments come from authors who were principally interested in the contribution of Harrison and other clockmakers, and largely lack interest in the complementary role of astronomical and other methods of navigation. They have also been much influenced by the later Harrison "Journal", which is a very one-sided account. For balance, editors should also refer to Derek Howse's biography of Maskelyne, the book I (Rebekah Higgitt) edited called Maskelyne: Astronomer Royal, plus Richard Dunn and Rebekah Higgitt, Finding Longitude.Beckyfh (talk) 10:51, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Tobias Mayer[edit]

My understanding is that Maskelyne also inherited Tobias Mayer's lunar tables from James Bradley to whom the Board of Longitude sent them after Mayer sent them to the Admiralty in 1755, complete with the method of determining longitude. The tables and the method were widely known from that point on, I believe, long before Maskelyne "invented" his. Surely there should be some mention of this, unless I am mistaken (an ever present possibility) OsmNacht (talk) 09:40, 30 August 2014 (UTC)

There's no sense in which Maskelyne "invented" the lunar-distance tables. As he explained in his introductions to the Nautical Almanac, the tables of lunar distances were based on Tobias Mayer's lunar theory and the process for presenting them and using them for navigation was based on those published by Nicolas Louis de Lacaille in the Connaissance des temps. Both should certainly be mentioned in the article and it should be clear that Maskelyne's achievement was in organising the production and publication of the data and tables, making sure that it was a largely accurate and a long-term project.Beckyfh (talk) 10:45, 15 April 2015 (UTC)