When instruments disappear from view

No investigator did more to popularize the idealization of instruments and experimental conditions than Bessel. In addition to numerous applications of and elaborations upon the method of least squares, Bessel contributed significantly to the theory of astronomical and related instruments. Wanting to assemble a fixed star catalogue based on James Bradley's observations from 1750-1762, Bessel found he needed an alternative theory of refraction in order to refine Bradley's data.