Sir Thomas Maclear’s beacon: A history

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“This important astronomical calculation was undertaken by the Irish-born Maclear, a medical doctor who was also a keen astronomer. He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Astronomers and served as Her Majesty’s Astronomer and Director at the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope from 1833 to 1870,” according to the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway.

“One of Maclear’s most important tasks was to remeasure the Abbot Nicolas de Lacaille’s Cape Arc of Meridian. Due to the influence of the magnetic field of the mountains around the Cape on his instruments, Lacaille’s measurements in the mid-18th century had indicated that the Earth would be pear-shaped; the British Admiralty, however, wanted this enigma solved and Maclear set to work in the 1830s already,” records the Cableway.

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