BornBroughton near Salford, Greater Manchester, England, June 1610
DiedBroughton near Salford, Greater Manchester, England, July 1644
William Crabtree was among the first to observe a transit of Venus.
The son of a prosperous yeoman farmer, Crabtree studied at Manchester Grammar School. He received no university education, making a career as a clothier or a merchant in Manchester from 1630 or so. He was also employed as a land surveyor and a cartographer.
Self-educated in astronomy, Crabtree made precise observations by which he could establish the latitude of Manchester. By such observations, he was convinced of the accuracy of the Rudolphine Tables published by Johannes Kepler in 1627, so Crabtree converted the tables to decimal form and accepted Kepler’s theory of elliptical planetary orbits.
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