William Derham (November 26, 1657 - April 5, 1735)
William Derham was born in Stoughton (or Stoulton), Worcestershire
(England), on November 26, 1657, probably in poor conditions. He went to
Trinitiy College at Oxford 1675-81 (B.A., 1679) and became an Anglican
clergyman with first appointment as a vicar of Lady Grey in 1679.
Later positions include that of a vicar of Wargrave, Berkshire in 1682-9,
vicar of Upminster, Essex, 1689-1735, chaplan of the Prince of Wales, 1715,
and canon of Windsor, 1716.
He was interested in a variety of sciences including natural philosophy and
history, meteorology, entomology, physics and astronomy, and published
numerous papers in the Philosophical Transactions. For example, he
collected birds and insects, measured the velocity of sound to remarkable
acuracy, and was among the first to see the "ashen light" of Venus on
May 2, 1715.
William Derham passed away on April 5, 1735 in Upminster, Essex (England)
at age 77.
At age 75, William Derham published a list of 16 nebulous objects
(Derham 1733), of which he had extracted 14 from
Hevelius' Prodomus Astronomiae without
further verification but in case of the "Nebulous Star in Andromeda's
Girdle", actually the Andromeda Galaxy M31,
and two objects he found from Halley's catalog of
He also states to have observed the five northern nebulae from
Halley's list and resolved into stars
the one "in Antinous" (M11).
Derham's catalog became quite welknown and was also translated to French by
Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis.
- William Derham, 1733.
Observations of the Appearance among the Fix'd Stars, called Nebulous
Philosophical Transactions, Vol. 38, No. 428, pp. 70-74
- Kenneth Glyn Jones, 1968.
The Search for the Nebulae -- IV.
Journal of the British Astronomical Association, Vol. 79, No. 1 (1968),
Section on Derham: pp. 19-21.
Reprinted in: The Search for the Nebulae. Chalfont St. Giles, 1975
- Kenneth Glyn Jones, 1991.
Messier's Nebulae and Star Clusters. 2nd ed, Cambridge University Press
Here p. 320.
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