Francis Abbott

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Francis Abbott (12 August 1799 – 18 February 1883) was an Australian astronomer.


Abbott was born in Derby, England and became a watchmaker there. In 1831 he moved to Manchester and manufactured timepieces and astronomical machinery. In 1844, he was found guilty of obtaining two watches under false pretenses, and was sent to Australia. He arrived in Hobart, Tasmania in 1845, where he eventually again became a maker of watches and clocks. Abbott set up a private observatory where he made astronomical and meteorological observations. He published a number of papers in astronomical journals about comets, transits, and other matters. In an 1863 paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, he claimed that the Eta Carinae nebula had changed shape and size since Herschel observed it in the 1830s. This claim was refuted by Richard Proctor in 1871. This almost destroyed his credibility and he ceased publishing papers in European journals in 1873, deciding instead to write popularized astronomy booklets. He died in Hobart.[1]

Abbott was Tasmania’s de facto government astronomer and meteorologist from 1855 to 1880, and he was a member of the Royal Society of Tasmania, the Royal Astronomical Society, and the Royal Meteorological Society.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Abbott, Francis", by Wayne Orchiston, pp. 4-5 in The Biographical Dictionary of Astronomers, eds. Thomas Hockey et al., Springer: New York, 2007, ISBN 978-0-387-31022-0, doi:10.1007/978-0-387-30400-7.