A Most Unusual Earl

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently got a land parcel in Caledon Moors, one of the Caledon sims.

My intention was to use the parcel for a new science-themed exhibition. Because Caledon is nineteenth-century Victorian, I felt the exhibition should be relevant to that time period.

There are a great many things that happened in the sciences in the nineteenth century, so I had no shortage of ideas. I was curious which scientists were born in 1800, so I looked it up in my copy of Asimov’s Biographical Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, Second Revised Edition. Among the six people listed, one caused my eyebrow to raise: William Parsons, the Third Earl of Rosse. Impressed by his title, I had to read more.

He’s best known for building a really big telescope (completed in 1845). Known as The Leviathan of Parsonstown, it was the world’s largest telescope for over 70 years. The photo below shows it on the grounds of his family’s castle (Birr Castle) in Parsonstown, central Ireland.

The Leviathan of Parsonstown

What was discovered with the telescope?  How well did it work? What became of it? Stay tuned – for I’m doing an exhibition about it! The exhibition will be called The Earl and the Leviathan.

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