Reference numberMS/119/2/102
TitleLetter from Joseph Henry Kay, Magnetic Observatory Rossbank to Humphrey Lloyd, Trinity College, Dublin
Date12 November 1840
DescriptionKay gives an account of the work that is being conducted at the Rossbank observatory, and the work being conducted by Captain James Clark Ross and the ship of the British Antarctic expedition. The Rossbank observatory was operational from 1st October, and Kay has sent Lloyd the results for the month. Kay is confident that the results will be satisfactory, as the magnetometer observations are complete, and Kay intends to have all the meteorological instruments in their place by the end of the month. Kay informs Lloyd his two assistants have now arrived. The ship they arrived in intends to keep the November term at the Auckland islands, and then proceed south [referencing Captain Ross's British Antarctic expedition]. Kay notes that the endeavour to have simultaneous observations that are pre-concerted together will result in a plethora of facts and knowledge.

Kay discusses their decision to change two hourly observations to hourly observations at the Rossbank observatory, and the extra work this entails. This will add value to the observations from this observatory as well as make them comparable with observations made by the ship [the British Antarctic expedition]. Kay intend to continue the triple observations as well. Discussion on the infeasibility of checking all three magnetometers simultaneously, and Kay fears this will not be possible at the Rossbank observatory, though John Franklin insists on it.

Discussion on the effects of the aurora australis.

Kay along with his assistants Dayman and Scott are keen to produce good results from the observations made at Van Diemen's Land [Tasmania; Lutruwita or Truwana], but notes the challenges of three people keeping hourly observations.

Discussion on the vertical force.
Physical descriptionInk on paper

The letter has two holes where presumably the wax seal has been broken. The wax seal has been removed
Access statusOpen
Fellows associated with this archive
NA4898Kay; Joseph Henry (1814 - 1875)1814 - 1875
NA8252Lloyd; Humphrey (1800 - 1881)1800 - 1881
Add to My Items

    Collection highlights

    Browse the records of some of our collections, which cover all branches of science and date from the 12th century onwards. These include the published works of Fellows of the Royal Society, personal papers of eminent scientists, letters and manuscripts sent to the Society or presented at meetings, and administrative records documenting the Society's activities since our foundation in 1660.

    The Royal Society

    The Royal Society is a Fellowship of many of
    the world's most eminent scientists and is the
    oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.
    Registered charity number 207043

    Website design ©CalmView


    + 44 207 451 2500
    (Lines open Mon-Fri, 9:00-17:00. Excludes bank holidays)

    6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG

    Email Us →


    Subscribe to our newsletters to be updated with the
    latest news on innovation, events, articles and reports.

    Subscribe →

    © CalmView