Amateur with an ingenious streak

Alexander Roberts was a Scottish amateur astrologer who spent most of his adult life teaching at Lovedale in Eastern Cape. In the 1880s he set up a small observatory, using a pair of binoculars and a theodolite (a surveying instrument with a rotating telescope used to measure horizontal and vertical angles). Later, with two small telescopes, Roberts made more than 250000 accurate observations about variable stars. -The Book of Firsts, compiled by Ian Harrison and Peter Joyce