Reproductions of astronomical photographs published by the Royal Astronomical Society

Scope and Content

Most of the photographs in the collection are of celestial bodies including:

  • Sun
  • Moon
  • Planets
  • Minor planets
  • Comets
  • Meteors
  • Double stars
  • Nebulae
  • Star clusters
  • Star fields

There are also photographs of spectra, instruments, and the interior of the Royal Astronomical Society in Burlington House.

The photographs of celestial bodies were taken at various observatories including:

  • Royal Observatory Greenwich
  • Lick Observatory
  • Mount Wilson Observatory
  • Cape Observatory
  • Yerkes Observatory

Astronomers who took the photographs include:

  • E.E. Barnard
  • George Ellery Hale
  • Max Wolf
  • John Evershed

Administrative / Biographical History

The Royal Astronomical Society appointed a permanent Photographic Committee in 1887. In 1895 the Society started to act as a centre for receiving astronomical photographs from observatories and astronomers, and reproducing and distributing the prints. This practice continued until the 1970s.

Conditions Governing Access

Please make an appointment to consult these records. You can find out more about visiting the Royal Astronomical Society library and archives here , including contact details, or email the librarian to get in touch.