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Green, Charles (1734 - 1771)

Assistant to the Astronomer Royal
Published Sources
Born: December 1734  Swinton, Yorkshire, England.  Died: 29 January 1771  at sea between Batavia and Cape of Good Hope.
Charles Green accompanied James Cook on the Endeavour voyage to conduct observations of the Tranit of Venus at Tahiti.

Career Highlights
The youngest son of a Yorkshire farmer, Green was educated at the Denmark Street in London’s Soho district, where his eldest brother, John, was master.

After serving as an assistant in the school, Charles was appointed to assist James Bradley, the Astronomer Royal, in 1760.

After Bradley’s death, in July 1762, Green remained at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, assisting the new Astronomer Royal, Nathaniel Bliss.

Bliss was in poor health, and died after only eighteenth months. During his short tenure, Green undertook most of the observations at Greenwich.

In August 1763, Green was instructed by the Board of Longitude to accompany Neville Maskelyne to Barbados to determine the longitude of the island by celestial observation in connection with the testing of John Harrison’s fourth marine chronometer.

After Bliss’s death in September 1764, Green was left in charge of the Royal Observatory until Maskelyne took up appointment as Astronomer Royal in March 1765.

Green and Maskelyne appear to have quarreled, with Green apparently finding employment as a ship’s purser. Maskelyne nonetheless recommended to the Royal Society that Green accompany James Cook on his first voyage to observe the transit of Venus at Tahiti on 3 June 1768.

Cook came to have a high regard for Green’s ability as an astronomer and teacher of observational techniques.

Green was in poor health before joining the Endeavour and according to Cook, he ‘lived in such a manner as greatly promoted the disorders he had had long upon him…’ Whatever the nature of these disorders, Green died of dysentery on the voyage from Batavia to the Cape of Good Hope.


Structure based on ISAAR(CPF) - click here for an explanation of the fields. Created: 6 March 2004

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000377

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