Thursday, January 10, 2013

   The next weeks rushed by at a hectic pace. In the day Maskelyne worked on the preparations for the transit expeditions and during the cold nights he observed the skies from Greenwich, no doubt sporting his brand-new 'observing suit' - a quilted outfit including a waistcoat, as well as trousers with all-in-one-feet and an enormous padded bottom made of thick flannel and fine gold-, red- and cream-striped silk which reputedly Maskelyne's brother-in-law Robert Clive had sent from India. Described by a fellow scientist as a 'small invisible man', the chubby Maskelyne must have lost all remnants of authority when he waddled towards his observation room squeezed into the golden emsemble - the armour of an astronomer.

- Andrea Wulf
Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens

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