William Cranch Bond (September 9, 1789 - January 29, 1859)
William Cranch Bond was born in Falmouth, District of Maine, Mass. (now
Portland, Maine). He became an expert clockmaker in Boston, exporting
quality chronometers. Starting about 1812 he became a passioned amateur
astronomer; in 1815 he travelled to Europe to visit existing
observatories, in order to gather information for a potential observatory
at Harvard. In 1839, Harvard Observatory was eventually founded, and
W.C. Bond became its first director; in 1847, it was equipped with a
15-inch (37.5-cm) telescope. With this instrument, Bond made extensive
studies of sunspots, the Orion Nebula M42
and planet Saturn; in 1848, together with his son,
George Phillips Bond, he discovered Saturn's moon Hyperion, at that
time the 8th known moon of the ring planet (it was also independently
discovered in the same year by William Lassell).
William and George Bond were also the first in America to use Daguerre's
photographic process for astrophotography: In the night of July 16-17,
1850, they worked with J.A. Whipple, a photographer associated with the
Massachusetts General Hospital, to obtain the first Daguerreotype of a
star, Vega, a 100 seconds exposure. Consequently, they obtained about
200 to 300 wet collodion plates of the moon, stars, and planets.
William C. Bond died in Cambridge, Mass. on January 29, 1859.
W.C. Bond and his son, G.P. Bond have been honored by naming a moon crater
Bond (33.2S, 36.0W, 110.6 km diameter, in 1973). A region on Saturn's moon
Hyperion, which they co-discovered, is called Bond-Lassell Dorsum (48.0N,
143.5W, named 1982). Asteroid (767) Bondia was discovered on September 23,
1913 by J. H. Metcalf at Winchester observatory and provisionally designated
1913 SX; other independent findings had been designated A902 SA, 1929 OA,
1933 FO1, 1938 DQ2, 1957 UR, 1958 XA1, and 1959 AD.
[History Home] |