Birmingham, John

John Birmingham (1816-1884)

John Birmingham, amateur geologist and astronomer was born, lived and died in Millbrook, County Galway. He was educated at St. Jarlath's College in Tuam. He is reputed to have spent 6 or 7 years studying in Berlin, travelling widely in Europe and becoming proficient in several languages. He is noted for his discovery in 1866 of the recurrent nova T Coronae Borealis.

With the aid of a 4.5-inch Cooke refractor, he made a special study of red stars undertaking a revision and extension of Schjellerup's Catalogue of Red Stars. In all, he included 658 such objects. This work was presented to the Royal Irish Academy in 1876 and its merit was acknowledged by the award of the Cunningham Medal. In 1881 he discovered a deep red star in Cygnus, which is called after him. He published articles on meteor showers, on the transit of Venus and on sunspots and he corresponded with the leading astronomers of the day. A lunar crater is named after him.

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