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Patch of the Moons surface with several craters that are labelled with their names.

Chevallier Craters on the Moon. Credit: NASA

Throughout British history, astronomy has often been promoted as a way to better understand the workings of God. Many Georgian and Victorian astronomers were also priests or theologists (those who study religion). 

Temple Chevallier (1794-1873) was a clergyman, astronomer and mathematician. Chevallier was a professor at the newly built Durham University. In 1835, he published his lectures. The book was called Of the Proofs of the Divine Power and Wisdom Derived from the Study of Astronomy.

In 1839, he used donations to build the observatory at Durham University. He served as its director for 30 years. His notable observations of Jupiter's moon earned him fame and there are even craters on our Moon with his name.

Did you know... 

When Durham Observatory was opened the chief astronomer was expected to live in the observatory. Like early priests, the chief astronomer was not allowed to be married.

Relevance today

Durham's weather records date back to the 1840s. That's the second longest unbroken weather record of a UK university. Today, Durham's automated records contribute to the Met Office's forecasts.

Related artefacts  

Old stone, two-storey, building with a green telescope dome on top.

Photo of Durham Observatory. Credit: Teach46

Photograph of Durham Observatory

Durham University Observatory was opened in 1839 by Temple Chevallier and was used for both astronomical and weather observations. After 1937 the observatory was used only for weather recordings.