Salute to pioneering astronomer who set up Edinburgh's One o'clock Gun

Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819-1900). Picture: Wikimedia Commons under CC-BY 2.0 license
Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819-1900). Picture: Wikimedia Commons under CC-BY 2.0 license
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The name Charles Piazzi Smyth rarely trips off the tongue of most Edinburghers, but he was behind a myriad of things that are woven into the rich fabric of our city.


But now a new celebration of his life aims to change all that and help recognise an artist and pioneering photographer and astronomer who was responsible for setting up the One O’Clock Gun.

With 2019 marking Piazzi Smyth’s 200th birthday, astronomers, historians and some of his relatives visiting from Australia gathered this week in a series of events at the Royal Society of Edinburgh in George Street.

Among the events was a lecture on Tuesday evening by renowned photo historian Denis Pellerin, archivist for the huge stereo photo collection by Queen guitarist Brian May, who has revealed himself to be a big fan of the work of Piazzi Smyth.

Andy Lawrence, Regius Professor at the Royal Observatory of Edinburgh, said: “Piazza Smyth and his gifted wife Jessie transformed astronomy and the everyday fabric of Edinburgh Life. What an exciting few days celebrating his life and work.”

Picture: Tom Duffin

Picture: Tom Duffin