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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