William Derham (November 26, 1657 - April 5, 1735)

William Derham was born in Stoughton (or Stoulton), Worcestershire (England), on November 26, 1657, probably in poor conditions. He went to Trinitiy College at Oxford 1675-81 (B.A., 1679) and became an Anglican clergyman with first appointment as a vicar of Lady Grey in 1679. Later positions include that of a vicar of Wargrave, Berkshire in 1682-9, vicar of Upminster, Essex, 1689-1735, chaplan of the Prince of Wales, 1715, and canon of Windsor, 1716.

He was interested in a variety of sciences including natural philosophy and history, meteorology, entomology, physics and astronomy, and published numerous papers in the Philosophical Transactions. For example, he collected birds and insects, measured the velocity of sound to remarkable acuracy, and was among the first to see the "ashen light" of Venus on May 2, 1715.

William Derham passed away on April 5, 1735 in Upminster, Essex (England) at age 77.

At age 75, William Derham published a list of 16 nebulous objects (Derham 1733), of which he had extracted 14 from Hevelius' Prodomus Astronomiae without further verification but in case of the "Nebulous Star in Andromeda's Girdle", actually the Andromeda Galaxy M31, and two objects he found from Halley's catalog of southern stars. He also states to have observed the five northern nebulae from Halley's list and resolved into stars the one "in Antinous" (M11). Derham's catalog became quite welknown and was also translated to French by Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis.



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