„In conversing with persons who are not officially attached to Observatories or in other ways professionally cognizant of the technicalities of practical Astronomy but who nevertheless display great interest... these persons appear to regard the determination of measures like those of the distance of the Sun and Moon as mysteries beyond ordinary comprehension... [and] when persons well acquainted with the general facts of Astronomy are introduced into an Observatory, they are for the most part utterly unable to understand anything which they see...
The measure of the Moon's distance involves no principle more abstruse than the measure of the distance of a tree on the opposite bank of a river. The principles of construction of the best Astronomical instruments are as simple and as closely referred to matters of common school-education and familiar experience, as are those of the common globes, the steam engine, or the turning-lathe; the details are usually less complicated.“
— George Biddell Airy
Introduction, p. vii-vii