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

Common, Andrew Ainslie

Reference work entry

BornNewcastle upon Tyne, England, 7 August 1841

DiedEaling, (London), England, 2 June 1903

Andrew Common demonstrated the value of using large reflecting telescopes to photograph celestial objects. Through his improved techniques for guiding telescopes, which made possible comparatively long exposures, Common proved that photography could record substantially greater detail than could be seen with the naked eye.

Common’s father, Thomas Common, a distinguished surgeon of the North country who was renowned for his treatment of cataract, died during Andrew’s infancy, and economic misfortunes beset the family. During those years of hardship, when Common was about 10, his mother borrowed a telescope for him from Dr. Bates of Morpeth. Although Common showed great interest in the instrument, he had no real opportunity to exercise his astronomical inclinations for many years thereafter and, instead, struck out on his own at a very young age to seek training and employment.

Common was fortunate...

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Selected References

  1. Common, A. A. (1883). “Note on a Photograph of the Great Nebula in Orion and some new stars near θ Orionis.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 43: 255–257.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. —(1889). “Note on an Apparatus for Correcting the Driving of the Motor Clocks of large Equatorials for long Photographic Exposures.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 49: 297–300.Google Scholar
  3. —(1892). “On the Construction of a Five-foot Equatorial Reflecting Telescope.” Memoirs of the Royal Astronomical Society 50: 113–204.Google Scholar
  4. Dyson, Frank W. (1904). “Andrew Ainslie Common.” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 64: 274–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. King, Henry C. (1955). The History of the Telescope. High Wycombe: Charles Griffin and Co. (Reprint, New York: Dover, 1979. See Chap. 13, pp. 261–281.)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chester, County ChesterUK