Isaac Roberts, Welsh astronomical photographer and inventor, c 1890.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Isaac Roberts (1829-1904) was born in Wales and moved to Liverpool when he was seven years old. In 1814 Roberts was apprenticed to a local building firm that he eventually owned. In 1885 he built an observatory with a 20 inch reflector that led to Roberts making considerable progres in the area of Astro-photography. His finest work is considered to be his photograph of Great Nebula in Andromeda, M31 which he took on 29th December 1888. He also invented the Stellar Pantograver, a machine that engraved stellar positions onto copper. Also a keen geologist, Roberts was married to the American astrologer Dorothea Klumpke.