Thomas William Webb

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T. W. Webb, from the coverplate in the 1917 edition of Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes TWWebb.jpg
T. W. Webb, from the coverplate in the 1917 edition of Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes

The Reverend Thomas William Webb (14 December 1807 19 May 1885) was a British astronomer. Some sources give his year of birth as 1806. The only son of a clergyman, the Rev. John Webb, he was raised and educated by his father, his mother having died while Thomas was a small child. [1] He went to Oxford where he attended Magdalen College. In 1829 was ordained a minister in the Anglican Church. He was married to Henrietta Montague in 1843, daughter of Mr. Arthur Wyatt, Monmouth. Mrs. Webb died on 7 September 1884, and after a year of declining health Thomas died on 19 May 1885. [1]

Astronomer scientist who studies celestial bodies

An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or field outside the scope of Earth. They observe astronomical objects such as stars, planets, moons, comets, and galaxies – in either observational or theoretical astronomy. Examples of topics or fields astronomers study include planetary science, solar astronomy, the origin or evolution of stars, or the formation of galaxies. Related but distinct subjects like physical cosmology, which studies the Universe as a whole.

Magdalen College, Oxford constituent college of the University of Oxford in England

Magdalen College is one of the wealthiest constituent colleges of the University of Oxford, with an estimated financial endowment of £180.8 million as of 2014.

Church of England Anglican state church of England

The Church of England is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.


Through his career T. W. Webb served as a clergyman at various places including Gloucester, and finally in 1852 was assigned to the parish of Hardwicke near the border with Wales. In addition to serving faithfully the members of his parish, T. W. Webb pursued astronomical observation in his spare time. On the grounds of the vicarage or parsonage he built a small canvas and wood observatory that was home to instruments including a small 3.7" (94mm) refractor. Webb acquired progressively larger refractors and reflectors with which the observations in the guide were made. The largest telescope was a 9-1/3" (225mm) silver on glass reflector used from 1866 until his last observation in March 1885. It was at Hardwick that he wrote his classic astronomical observing guide Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes (2 vols) in 1859 for which he is best known today. This two-volume work was written as a guide for the amateur astronomer, containing instructions on the use of a telescope as well as detailed descriptions of what could be observed with it. This work became the standard observing guide of amateur astronomers worldwide, and remained so until well into the 20th Century, gradually supplanted by more modern guides such as Burnham's Celestial Handbook.

Gloucester City and Non-metropolitan district in England

Gloucester is a city and district in Gloucestershire, in the South West of England, of which it is the county town. Gloucester lies close to the Welsh border, on the River Severn, between the Cotswolds to the east and the Forest of Dean to the southwest.

Wales Country in northwest Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit. The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate.

Astronomy natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects

Astronomy is a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena. It applies mathematics, physics, and chemistry in an effort to explain the origin of those objects and phenomena and their evolution. Objects of interest include planets, moons, stars, nebulae, galaxies, and comets; the phenomena also includes supernova explosions, gamma ray bursts, quasars, blazars, pulsars, and cosmic microwave background radiation. More generally, all phenomena that originate outside Earth's atmosphere are within the purview of astronomy. A related but distinct subject is physical cosmology, which is the study of the Universe as a whole.

The title's reference to "common telescopes" refers to refractors of 3 to 6 inches and the somewhat larger reflectors that were commonly available to the amateur observers of the day.

Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes was first published in 1859. It was continually published through the 6th edition in 1917 revised by Rev. T. E. Espin. In 1962, the reprinted edition was published by Dover Publications, Inc., edited and revised by Margaret W. Mayall. The 1962 edition is still readily available and widely used, while earlier editions have become collectors items and are quite rare.

The Reverend Thomas Henry Espinell Compton Espin or T. H. E. C. Espin was a British astronomer. His father Thomas Espin was Chancellor of the Diocese of Chester and his mother was Elizabeth.

Dover Publications, also known as Dover Books, is an American book publisher founded in 1941 by Hayward Cirker and his wife, Blanche. It primarily publishes reissues, books no longer published by their original publishers. These are often, but not always, books in the public domain. The original published editions may be scarce or historically significant. Dover republishes these books, making them available at a significantly reduced cost.

Margaret Walton Mayall was an American astronomer. She was the director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) from 1949 to 1973.

Asteroid 3041 Webb and lunar crater Webb were named after him. [2]

Webb (crater) impact crater

Webb is a small lunar impact crater that is located near the eastern edge of the Mare Fecunditatis, in the eastern part of the Moon near the equator. It was named after British astronomer Thomas William Webb. It is to the north of the prominent crater Langrenus, and west of Maclaurin.


  1. 1 2 T.W. Webb, Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes , 1917, Longmans, Green and Co., London
  2. Webb, Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature, International Astronomical Union (IAU) Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature (WGPSN)


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Amateur astronomy hobby whose participants enjoy watching the sky

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Charles Edward Burton was a British-born Irish astronomer.

Fracastorius (crater) Lunar crater

Fracastorius is the lava-flooded remnant of an ancient lunar impact crater located at the southern edge of Mare Nectaris. To the northwest of this formation lies the crater Beaumont, while to the northeast is Rosse.

Very (lunar crater) lunar crater

Very is a small lunar impact crater located in the eastern part of Mare Serenitatis, to the west-southwest of Le Monnier. It lies upon a wrinkle ridge that runs to the north and south named Dorsa Smirnov. It was named after American astronomer Frank W. Very. The crater was previously known as Le Monnier B, a satellite crater of Le Monnier, before being renamed by the IAU in 1973.

Curtis (crater) lunar crater

Curtis is a very small lunar impact crater that lies in the western Mare Crisium, to the east of the crater Picard. It is a circular, cup-shaped formation that is otherwise undistinguished. It was named after American astronomer Heber D. Curtis in 1973. In the past it was designated Picard Z.

Euler (crater) impact crater

Euler is a lunar impact crater located in the southern half of the Mare Imbrium, and is named after the Swiss mathematician, physician and astronomer Leonhard Euler. The most notable nearby feature is Mons Vinogradov to the west-southwest. There is a cluster of low ridges to the southwest, and this formation includes the small crater Natasha and the tiny Jehan. About 200 kilometers to the east-northeast is the comparably sized crater Lambert.

Bohnenberger (crater) impact crater

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Flamsteed (crater) lunar crater

Flamsteed is a small lunar impact crater located on the Oceanus Procellarum, which is named after British astronomer John Flamsteed. It lies almost due east of the dark-hued Grimaldi, and north-northwest of the flooded Letronne bay on the south edge of the mare.

Encke (crater) impact crater

Encke is a lunar impact crater that is located on the western edge of the Mare Insularum, to the south-southeast of the crater Kepler. The small crater Kunowsky lies to the east-southeast on the mare.

Beals (crater) lunar crater

Beals is a lunar impact crater that is located near the eastern limb of the Moon, and lies across the southwestern rim of the crater Riemann. From the Earth the crater is viewed nearly from on edge, and is best seen during favorable librations. To the west is the large walled plain Gauss.

Dollond (crater) impact crater

Dollond is a small lunar impact crater that is located in the central region of the Moon, to the north of the crater Abulfeda. It was named after British optician John Dollond. Due west of Dollond is Anděl. Dollond is circular and cone shaped, with a tiny floor at the midpoint of the sloping interior walls.

Eckert (crater) impact crater

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Elger (crater) lunar crater

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Bliss is small lunar impact crater that is located just to the west of the dark-floored crater Plato. It lies in a region of continental terrain between Mare Imbrium to the south and Mare Frigoris to the north. This crater is bowl-shaped, with a small interior floor at the midpoint and a somewhat eroded outer rim.

Cichus (crater) impact crater

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Fox (crater) lunar crater

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Visible-light astronomy

Visible-light astronomy encompasses a wide variety of observations via telescopes that are sensitive in the range of visible light. Visible-light astronomy is part of optical astronomy, and differs from astronomies based on invisible types of light in the electromagnetic radiation spectrum, such as radio waves, infrared waves, ultraviolet waves, X-ray waves and gamma-ray waves. Visible light ranges from 380 to 750 nanometers in wavelength.