Thursday 28 April 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook gene Shoemaker

Gene Shoemaker  the Founder of Astrogeology

Gene Shoemaker born in Los Angeles, California on April 28th 1928 brought together geologic principles to the mapping of planets, resulting in more than 3 decades of discoveries about the planets and asteroids of the Solar System.

He almost single-handedly created planetary science as a discipline distinct from astronomy. He explored ancient parts of the earth for records of meteorite and comet impacts, resulting in the discovery of a number of new craters. He was the Founder of Astrogeology.

Working with his wife Carolyn and David Levy he discovered Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 which in 1994 crashed into Jupiter.

Gene Shoemaker died Friday, July 18th , 1997 in Alice Springs, Australia in a car accident.

Wednesday 27 April 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Ferdinand Magellan

Ferdinand Magellan

The first expedition to travel around the world was led by Ferdinand Magellan,  the Portuguese explorer died on April 27th 1521.

He saw two nebulous objects in the sky these are of course today known as the Magellanic Clouds, two nearby galaxies; although they had been known for thousands of years and had had been reported by some European explorers. It is  the observations made by Magellan that we use today to name these galaxies.

The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) about 160,000 light years away and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) about 190,000 light years away. Both galaxies are much smaller than our Milky Way galaxy.

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Ariel 1

Ariel 1

The first British satellite, Ariel 1 was launched on April 26th 1962.  It was designed to study radiation from the Sun. 

Ariel 1 was among several satellites accidentally damaged or destroyed by the U S Starfish Prime high-altitude nuclear test on July 9, 1962. Ariel 1 re entered the Earth’s atmosphere and burnt up on 24 April 1976.

Monday 25 April 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Bovedy Meteorite

Bovedy Meteorite

On April 25th 1969 a meteorite weighing 5.4 kg landed close to the town of Limavady in the Bovedy region of county Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

The meteorite crashed at 9.22 pm, the largest piece which weighed 4.9 kg fell on the farm of Mr. Gilmore in Bovedy. A small impact crater, depth 14.5 inches, was discovered in a field used for open grazing, and a stone 9 x 8 x 4 inches was recovered.

At the Royal Ulster Constabulary Central Stores in Sprucefield, County Antrim a hole was discovered in the corrugated asbestos roof of a store. On the concrete floor, among fragments of the roof a stone object was found broken into two pieces, weighing 283g and 230g.

The meteorite was a L3 stone type.

Saturday 23 April 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook John Phillips

John Phillips

On April 24th 1874 John Phillips died although best known for his work on geology he was also a pioneer of astronomical photography. 

John Phillips was born in Wiltshire, He was the first keeper of the Yorkshire Museum in York and helped organise the first meeting of the Association for the Advance of Science meeting that was held in York in 1831.

Friday 22 April 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Halley's Eclipse

Halley’s Eclipse of the Sun

On April 22nd 1715 an eclipse of the Sun was seen over London. It is often called the Halley Eclipse because Edmund Halley of comet fame who had predicted to within 4 minutes when the eclipse would occur.

Until the 20th century this was the most celebrated eclipse of the Sun reported.

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook John Goodricke

John Goodricke 1764-1786

On April 20th 1786 John Goodricke died. He was not quite 22. He was one of the ‘Fathers of Variable Star Astronomy’ when from 1781-1786 working with Edward Pigott he made York in England one of the astronomical centres of the world. He explained the variations of Beta Perseus known by its name as Algol. He suggested that there were two objects eclipsing each other.

He discovered the variable star Delta Cepheus which astronomers use today to work out how far away galaxies are from Earth.

 In addition he also discovered the variable star Beta Lyra

All this he achieved as well as being deaf and unable to speak. There was clearly nothing wrong with his thinking processes.

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Salyut 1

Salyut 1
The first space station the Russian Salyut 1 was launched on April 19th 1971.  On April 22nd the first mission to the space station saw the crew of the Soyuz 10  unable to enter the space station and then safely returned to Earth.

On June 7th 1971 the next mission Soyuz 11 safely docked and the crew remained on board for 23 days. Sadly on their return flight the Soyuz 11 space craft had a depressurization problem and the crew of three were killed.

No further missions were undertaken to Salyut 1 and it was decided to finish the mission on October 11th 1971 after 175 days in orbit the Salyut 1 re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and burned up over the  Pacific Ocean.

Salute means fireworks.

Saturday 16 April 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Lunar Eclipse 1204

Eclipse of the Moon 16th April 1204

An eclipse of the Moon on April 16th 1204 was observed from England.

The eclipse  occurred a short time after the Byzantium emperor Alexios III was dethroned.

Friday 15 April 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Halley's Comet 1145

Halley’s comet 1145

Comet Halley appeared on April 15th 1145 and was visible for 50 days. Observations from China tell us that on April 26th a comet was seen in the east. 

On the 3rd June it was seen in Orion and it appeared bluish-white in colour, By the 14th June it was in the constellation of Hydra. On the 9th July it disappeared from sight 

Thursday 14 April 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook George Alcock's 2nd Nova

George Alcock Nova Vulpecula April 14th 1968

He was Britain’s greatest visual observer. He made 10 discoveries 5 comets and 5 Novae, he even surpassed Caroline Herschel who in the 1780s discovered 8 comets.  He was born in 1912 and died in 2000. He made his discoveries using only binoculars.

George's second nova was discovered a mere 9 months after the first. This one was in Vulpecula (the Fox) and was designated LV Vul. It was discovered on 1968 April 14th, rising to a peak of mag 4.8 a week later, on April 21st. He first Novae discovery in Delphinus (the Dolphin) in July 1967 and designated HR Del was still visible in the sky, there were two British naked eye novae, only 15 degrees apart, in the April 1968 dawn sky!!

George has often stated that the sight of those two novae together was "the greatest thrill of my observing career" The proximity of LV Vulpecula to the bright nova of 1670 was also of considerable importance to George.

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Astronomy Scrapbook Annie Jump Canon

Annie Jump Canon December 11th 1863 – April 13th 1941

Born in Delaware on December 11th 1863 Annie Jump Canon, her mother taught her to learn the constellations in the night sky. At school she studied maths and physics and astronomy.

She worked with Edward Pickering at Harvard Observatory checking astronomical photographs. Her job was known as a ‘computer’. She classified more than 225,000 stars into 7 main classes O, B, A, F, G, K, M. The system is the universal standard and is used today on the Hertzsprung Russell Diagram which charts the life cycles of stars. This mnemonic is remembered as "Oh, Be A Fine Girl--Kiss Me!"

As a young lady she caught scarlet fever which caused her to become nearly deaf. Annie Jump Cannon's career in astronomy lasted for more than 40 years, until her retirement in 1940. During this time, Cannon helped women gain acceptance and respect within the scientific community.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin
On April 12th 1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first person to go into space. Gagarin traveled into space in the Vostok 1 space craft. He completed one orbit of the Earth and was in space for 1 hour and 48 minutes.

He was born in Russia on 9th March 1934 and died on 27th March 1968 when the aircraft he was flying crashed during a training exercise. 

Monday 11 April 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook W W Campbell

William Wallace Campbell April 11th 1862- June 14th 1938

William Wallace Campbell was born in Ohio, USA on April 11th 1862.

He would go onto become a pioneer of astronomical spectroscopy and was a director of Lick Observatory from 1901-1930.

Friday 8 April 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook David Rittenhouse

David Rittenhouse April 8, 1732 – June 26, 1796

David Rittenhouse was born in Philadelphia on April 8th 1732; he would go on to become an important  American astronomer, inventor, clockmaker, mathematician, surveyor and public official. Rittenhouse was a member of the American Philosophical Society and the first director of the United States Mint.

He was one of the first to build a telescope in the United States. His telescope, used spiders web to form the cross hair wire or reticule. He used this telescope to observe and record part of the transit of Venus across the sun on June 3, 1769. In 1781 Rittenhouse became the first American to sight the planet Uranus.

In 1784 Rittenhouse, and surveyor Andrew Ellicott and their team completed the unfinished survey of the Mason–Dixon line to the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, 5 degrees of longitude from the Delaware River.

Wednesday 6 April 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Sunspots 374 AD

Sunspots 374 AD

On April 6th 374 AD ‘within the Sun’ there were two black spots (sunspots) as large as ducks’ eggs as seen from China.

Tuesday 5 April 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook High Possil Meteorite

High Possil April 5th 1804

The High Possil meteorite fell on the morning of Thursday, 5th April 1804, in a quarry near High Possil, on the northern outskirts of Glasgow, Scotland. The High Possil meteorite is one of only four ever to have been found in Scotland.

The High Possil meteorite was one of a number of falls around the beginning of the 19th Century, which were witnessed, recovered and investigated thoroughly. 

High Possil is a stony meteorite, classified as an L6 ordinary chondrite - a very common type. The largest surviving piece is at the Hunterian Museum and weighs about 151g. 

The High Possil fall could perhaps be said to mark the beginning of modern meteorite science.

Monday 4 April 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Joseph Ashbrook

Joseph Ashbrook April 4, 1918 – August 4, 1980

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 4th 1918, Joseph Ashbrook worked at Sky and Telescope magazine where he wrote the column "Astronomical Scrapbook" from 1954 to 1980, and remained on its staff until his death; he also edited the magazine from 1964.