Saturday 27 June 2015

Astronomy Scrapbook June 27th 1825 death of Edward Pigott

Edward Pigott 1753-1825 one of the Fathers of Variable Star Astronomy

Edward Pigott the son of astronomer Nathaniel Pigott was born near London but lived a large part of his early life in France with his father. He helped to survey of the location of the large cities in the Austrian Netherlands. He moved to Wales where in 1779 he discovered 'The Black Eye Galaxy,' M64.

  He moved to the city of York in England in 1781 and worked with John Goodricke the deaf astronomer. Together they would become The Fathers of Variable Star Astronomy. They explained the variability of beta Persei the star that  marks the eye of Medusa which has just been killed by Perseus. The star has a proper name Algol which means the 'Winking Demon' They were the first people to suggest that there might be objects orbiting other stars!!

In 1783 Pigott discovered a comet, In 1784 he discovered the variable star eta Aquila a Cepheid type variable. After Goodrick's death in 1786 Pigott moved to the city of Bath where in 1795 he discovered the variability of the stars R Corona Borealis and R Scuti.

In 1802 following a period of peace during the Napoleonic wars he visited friends in France, When war began again he was captured and was placed under house arrest. A petition by French and English scientists to the French government that this very important astronomer should be released meant he got travel documents to have safe passage to Calais then back to England. He observed the great comets of 1807 and 1811.

He died on June 27th 1825 and is buried in Bridlington in East Yorkshire.

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