Saturday 16 August 2014

Astronomy Scrapbook Saturday August 16th 2014

August 16th 1862 English astronomer W S Jacob dies

Captain William Stephen Jacob
On August 16th 1862 Captain William Stephen Jacob of the East India Company died.  He was born in Somerset in England in 1813;

He had a career with the Indian army and was engaged with a survey of the North West provinces.  He established a private observatory at Poonah in India in 1842 while here he compiled a catalogue of 244 double stars. In 1847 he discovered that the star Nu Scorpius is in fact a triple star.

He was director of the Madras observatory from 1848-1859, where he made observations of Jupiter trying to work out its mass. He also made observations of some of the satellites of Saturn.  He noticed at the same time as Lassell in 1852 the transparency of Saturn`s dusky ring. Many of these observations were done using a 6.3 inch refractor.  

The Madras Observatory

In 1855 he found anomalies with the movements of the star 70 Ophiuchus, he believed there might be a planet orbiting the star.  The star is a binary system only 16 light years away astronomers today believe there could be a faint brown dwarf accounting for the discrepancies in the stars movements.

He retired from Madras in 1859 due to ill health and returned to England. In 1862 he returned to India on August 8th 1862 with a 9 inch Cooke refractor, his health failed him again and sadly he died on August 16th 1862, he had planned to install this telescope at a mountain observatory at Poonah which was 5,000 feet above sea level.

His Cooke refractor  was later sold to Thomas Barneby who used it at his Morton House observatory near Worcester.

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