BornWoodplumpton, Lancashire, England, 3 September 1837
DiedEdinburgh, Scotland, 27 October 1905
Ralph Copeland served as Scotland’s Astronomer Royal in Edinburgh.
Copeland’s early education was completed at a grammar school in Kirkham, England. In 1853, he journeyed to Australia and spent the next 5 years in the colony of Victoria, working on a sheep ranch but also trying his hand at digging for gold in the Omeo district. Copeland’s interest in astronomy arose during this period, and his desire to pursue an astronomical career led him back to his homeland. But Copeland was denied admission to Cambridge University. In turn, he apprenticed himself to a Manchester firm of locomotive engineers. Several coworkers assisted him in establishing a private observatory. Copeland married a first cousin, Susannah Milner, in 1859. She died, however, during the birth of their second child in 1866.
Copeland again determined to follow an astronomical career, and was admitted to Göttingen University in...