Sunday, 14 August 2022

S Delphinus observed from Manchester in 1865


Mr Baxendell read a communication on the variable star S Delphini at the meeting of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester on the 9th of November 1865. It stated that a maximum occurred on August 9th 1865, magnitude 8.9, the mean period being 332 days and the minimum equalling the 13.5 magnitude.

Mr Baxendell’s results were confirmed in a great measure by Mr G Knott of Cuckfield. The colour of the star is reddish and is more intense at the minimum.

Note - S Delphinus is now known to be a Mira type red giant variable star with a magnitude range of 8.3-12.4 and a period of 277 days.

Saturday, 13 August 2022

100 Perseids seen over Leeds in 1901


The Perseids this year may have been affected by the Full Moon but over 100 years ago they were lots  being seen over Leeds.

Joseph H Elgie FRAS saw 100 meteors on the night of August 11th 1901, from his home in Leeds. 

In 1914 Elgie published 'The Stars, Night by Night' a review of the night sky

Friday, 12 August 2022

Early Photos of the Moon taken with a Cooke


John Phillips 1800-1874 was an eminent geologist. He would become the first keeper of the Yorkshire Museum which was built by the Yorkshire Philosophical Society in 1829, he also had a great interest in astronomy and photography.

He brought a Thomas Cooke 6.25 inch telescope in 1852 which he set up in the Museum Gardens and in 1853 took some of the earliest photographs of the Moon. One very early one was taken on July 15th 1853. He was a keen observer of the Moon and the Sun. He used the 6.25 inch Cooke to observe both objects.

He left the Yorkshire Museum in York around 1854 and moved to work at the University of Oxford firstly as deputy reader in geology and then in 1856 he became professor of Geology.

He was still using the 6.25 inch in the early 1860s, but as with so many Victorian telescopes after his death in 1874 it just disappeared and I have no idea what happened to it.

Thursday, 11 August 2022

Queen Victoria, a Comet and a Cooke

 Comet Tebbutt which was discovered by the Australian astronomer John Tebbutt graced the skies during the summer of 1861 over Europe.

 Among the people who observed this comet from Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight were Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and the future King Edward VII, the telescope which they used was a 5.25 inch refractor was made by Thomas Cooke & Sons of York.

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

More on the Newbegin Cooke Telescope


BAA Vol 34 No 9 page 353 1924

SPECTROSCOPIC SECTION.— A . M. Newbegin, Sutton, Surrey. 6-inch Cooke photo-visual equatorial refractor, Evershed prism spectroscope.—Work on the height and position of the solar prominence s has been continued on the same lines as in former years.

The results for 1923 indicate that the solar minimum is past, and the activity is now on the upgrade. There is still no great activity in the prominence as a whole, but at intervals metallic outbursts of some strength have been observed. A detailed account of the observation s for the year is being prepared for publication. The new high-power spectroscope is nearly ready for final adjustment.

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

A Cooke in Durham


BAA Vol 33 No 9 1923 page 337

T H E DURHAM UNIVERSITY OBSERVATORY.—Mr. Harold Thomson, F.R.A.S., was appointed Hon. Director of the Observatory in succession to the late Col. Ε. H. Grove-Hills, F.R.S. In this report, he reviews the equipment and work of the observatory.

The Almucantar and the Zenith Telescope are not in present use, and indeed the bad weather conditions prevailing in Durham almost preclude their use.

The 6.4 inch refractor, used for many years by the late Mr. Charles Grover at Sir Wilfrid Peek's Observatory, has been refigured by Messrs. Cooke, Troughton and Simms, York, and the object-glass will now divide double stars down to the theoretical limit; and whilst this was at the works, the Observer made use of the Hon. Director's 5-inch Cooke refractor, and 220 observations of variable stars have been reduced and will be forwarded to the Variable Star Section of the BAA . for inclusion in the Memoirs.

Monday, 8 August 2022

The Astronomy Show

 Join me, Martin Lunn tonight and every Monday evening from 7.00 pm-9.00 pm on the Astronomy Show, I will take my weekly look at the night sky and look at all the latest news in astronomy. There will be the astronomical anniversaries this week plus the A-Z of Constellations and the Messier Marathon.

The Astronomy Show every Monday evening only on Drystone Radio 102 and 103.5 FM the show can be heard live on line at and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.