Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

South, James

  • Richard Baum
Reference work entry

BornSouthwark, (London), England, 21 October 1785

DiedLondon, England, 19 October 1867

James South was a noted amateur astronomer who specialized in binary stars. He is usually remembered for his intemperate disposition, and his infamous quarrel with the instrument-maker Edward Troughton, facts that tarnish the mid-nineteenth-century history of British observational astronomy, and effectively hide the truth of his contributions to scientific knowledge.

South studied surgery, became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, and built up a thriving practice, but following his marriage to a wealthy heiress in 1816, abandoned medicine for his hobby of astronomy, an interest awakened by his friendship with the hydrographer and surveyor Joseph Huddart. He then proceeded to equip his observatory with the best telescopes and instruments then available. As a result of his friendship with  John Herschel, with whom he now collaborated, South embarked upon a program of double star observations...

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Selected References

  1. Dreyer, J. L. E. and H. H. Turner (eds.) (1923). History of the Royal Astronomical Society, 1820–1920. London: Royal Astronomical Society. (Reprint, Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1987.)Google Scholar
  2. Hoskin, Michael (1989). “Astronomers at War: South v. Sheepshanks.” Journal for the History of Astronomy 20: 175–212.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. J. C. (1868). “Sir James South.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 28: 69–72.Google Scholar
  4. Robinson, Thomas Romney (1868). “Sir James South.” Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 16: xliv–xlvii.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Baum
    • 1
  1. 1.ChesterCounty ChesterUK