Paul Alkon (essay date 1982)
SOURCE: “Changing the Calendar,” in Eighteenth Century Life, Vol. VII, No. 2, January, 1982, pp. 1-18.
[In the following essay, Alkon comments on eighteenth-century attitudes toward time and changes in the calendar.]
In January 1796, Neville Maskelyne, astronomer royal at Greenwich, fired his assistant, Kinnebrook, charging him with an observational error of eight-tenths of a second. Kinnebrook's difficulty had started the previous August when his notations of stellar transit times began to differ by one-half second from those of Maskelyne, whose admonitions were to no avail, and whose patience was exhausted four months later upon seeing the discrepancy grow by...
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