Schiehallion

Richard Ion

Lancaster, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

One of the most distinctive of all the Scottish mountains, Schiehallion forms part of the Grampians and at 3,547’ it is famed not only for its Munro (i.e. over 3,000’) status but also for forming part of the largest pieces of scientific apparatus ever used!
It was used by the Rev Neville Maskelyne, Astronomer Royal, in the mid 1770s to obtain a value for the mass of the Earth (by measuring the deflection of a plumb-bob due to the mass of the mountain). He aligned a telescope on many known stars having used a plumb-bob to level the telescope on one side of the mountain and then did the same on the other. The difference in the stars’ position then told him how much mass there was in the mountain.
All he needed now was a measurement of the volume of the mountain and this is partly why Schiehallion was chosen, it’s characteristic wedge shape made the calculations easier. However, it still needed surveying very accurately and this is where Charles Hutton came in. To do the job as accurately as possible he devised the system of contour lines that we still use today on maps!
So, there you go, not just a beautiful mountain but a very important one too.

Thanks for looking (and reading!)!

Richard

Tech detls
Nikon D200
Nikon 55-200mm VR @110mm
f25 1/8s
ISO160
Some greying of the sky in Photoshop

Artwork Comments

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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
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