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Huggins' Observatory

This is where Huggins made groundbreaking discoveries of nebulae


Astronomer William Huggins (1824-1910) lived here with his wife Margaret and built a private observatory here in 1856 where they carried out extensive observations of the spectral emission lines and absorption lines of various celestial objects.

On the 29th August 1864, Huggins was the first to take the spectrum of a planetary nebula when he analysed NGC 6543.

He was also the first to distinguish between nebulae and galaxies by showing that some (like the Orion Nebula) had pure emission spectra characteristic of gas, while others like the Andromeda Galaxy had the spectral characteristics of stars.

Huggins' Observatory was demolished sometime after 1915.

He was knighted in 1897 and died here in 1910 aged 86.

Location: 90 Upper Tulse Hill