John Bevis (1695 - 1771)

Bevis was a physician and amateur astronomer. In 1731 he became the first European to record the Crab Nebula, 27 years before Charles Messier listed it as M1 in his famous catalogue. On May 28, 1737, he made the only recorded visual telescopic observation of of the occultation with another when he noted Venus eclipsing Mercury. and observed and found a prediction rule for eclipses of Jupiter’s moons. In 1738 he set up a private observatory at Stock Newington, North London, from where he made observations and wrote a number of papers on eclipses, comets and occultations for the Philosophical Transactions. He also confirmed the effects of aberration in right ascension, and was one of of the first people to see the Great Comet of 1744. In 1749 he published an edited version of Edmond Halley’s posthumous astronomical tables. He also observed Halley’s Comet in 1759 and the transits of Venus in 1761 and 1769. He was elected to the Berlin Academy of Sciences in 1750 and became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1765.

He died on 6th November 1771, after falling from his telescope while measuring the meridian altitude of the sun.



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