William Cranch Bond (September 9, 1789 – January 29, 1859) was an American astronomer, and the first director of Harvard College Observatory.
Cranch Bond was born in Falmouth, Maine (now Portland, Maine) on September 9, 1789.
When he was young,
his father, William Bond, established himself as a clockmaker
after a failed business venture;
trained by his father and aided by his penchant for engineering, W.
C. Bond built his first clock when he was fifteen years old. He
eventually took over his father’s business, becoming an expert
In 1806, when he was seventeen years old, Bond saw a solar eclipse
. Soon thereafter, he became an
avid amateur astronomer. When he built his first house, Bond made
its parlor an observatory, complete with an opening in the ceiling
out of which his telescope could view the sky.
Trip to Europe
Bond traveled to Europe, commissioned by Harvard
University to gather information on European
On 18 July 1819 at Kingsbridge in Devon, Bond
married his first cousin, Selina Cranch, who bore him four sons and
two daughters. After Selina's death in 1831, Bond married her older
sister, Mary Roope Cranch.
In 1839, Bond was allowed to move his personal astronomical
equipment to Harvard and serve as its (unpaid) "Astronomical
Observer to the University." Later, in 1843, a sun-grazing comet
aroused enough public interest in astronomy that Harvard was able
to raise $25,730 towards the construction of a state-of-the-art
observatory. Bond designed the building and the observing chair
(both of which are still in working order today), and Harvard
bought a fifteen-inch German-built refracting telescope
, equal in size to
the largest in the world at the time. The telescope was first put
to use on June 24, 1847, when it was pointed to the moon
A number of celestial objects have been named in Bond's honor. A
few of them include:
crater W. Bond on the Moon
is named after him.
- A region on Hyperion is called the "Bond-Lassell Dorsum"
- Asteroid Bondia is jointly named
after him and his son.
- The Bond Gap within Saturn's C Ring is
jointly named after him and his son.