|William Parsons astronomy
William Parsons, third earl of Rosse, built his own telescope on the grounds of his castle with a seventy-two-inch speculum metal mirror to examine the nebulae those fuzzy objects in the night sky recorded by Ptolemy and later astronomers who didn’t understand what they were seeing. Rosse made meticulous drawings in pencil showing delicate spiral patterns but it took another 79 years for astronomers with even larger telescopes to distinguish giant stars in the spiral arms.
Leviathan of Parsonstown
From 1845 until 1917, Parsons’ was the largest telescope in the world. As ever, extreme wealth and much time can accomplish great things, and money can save time.
Given our finest instruments a doctor cannot sketch the difficulty of a body. The organs too remote, the parts too tiny, too hidden, too complex, too sensitive to measure, too complex for reason to fathom, too miraculous when it is well, too dreadful when it malfunctions. We make our own instruments made of hope and luck, made of listening, made of caring. If these means also fail, then it is difficult to imagine better but easy to suffer the lack.