Thursday 28 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook First Solar Corona Photograph

First Solar Corona Photograph

The first correctly exposed photograph of the solar corona which is the extended outer atmosphere of the Sun, was made during the total phase of the solar eclipse of 28 July 1851, at the Royal Observatory in Königsberg, Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia) by Johann Julius Friedrich Berkowski. 

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Solar Eclipse 306 AD

Solar Eclipse 306 AD

On July 27th an Annular eclipse of the sun was seen over southern Europe and into Asia. It is reported that stars were seen in the sky.

 This was the year that the Roman emperor Constantius Chlorus died.  He was the father of Constantine the Great.

Tuesday 26 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Apollo 15

Apollo 15

July 26th 1971 Apollo 15 launched, carried the 1st lunar rover to the moon.

The mission began on July 26, 1971. 

At the time, NASA called it the most successful manned flight ever achieved

Commander David Scott and Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin spent three days on the Moon, including 18½ hours outside the spacecraft on lunar extra-vehicular activity (EVA).  Command Module Pilot Alfred Worden orbited the Moon. The mission landed  in Mare Imbrium  SEA OF SHOWERS .

Apollo 15 Lunar Rover and James Irwin

Apollo 15 landed safely in the Pacific Ocean on August 7. 

The crew explored the area using the first lunar rover, which allowed them to travel much farther from the Lunar Module (LM) than had been possible on missions without the rover. They collected 77 kilograms (170 lb) of lunar surface material.

Monday 25 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Christopher Scheiner

Christopher Scheiner 1575-1650

Christopher Scheiner was born at Walda, Swabia in Germany, he opposed the Copernican system. Scheiner was the first astronomer to use a telescope made with a convex lens. He stated that there the advantages of a larger field of view.

 In March 1611 he made a long series of sunspots, he used the projection method. He stated that the spots on the Sun were much darker than the spots on the Moon.

He believed that the sun spots were not part of the Sun but were objects orbiting around the Earth and passing in front of the Sun. 

In 1613 he observed Venus and stated that during the period of the year the size of Venus can be seen to change.

Christopher Scheiner died in Silesia on July 18th 1650

Friday 22 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel

Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel

The son of a poor government employee  Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel was born on July 22nd 1784.

The German astronomer was born in Konigsberg, Prussia. With little formal education he went on to study astronomy and mathematics and in 1810 was appointed professor of astronomy at the University of Konigsberg.

Bessel measured the positions of about 50,000 stars. In 1838 he became the first person by using the parallax method to work the distance to a star other than the Sun. The star was 61 Cygni and was 10.3 light years away.  

Thursday 21 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Erasmus Flock

Erasmus Flock

Erasmus Flock was born in Nuremberg, he published an account of the comet of the great comet 1556 and sometimes the comet of Charles V.  It first appeared in February 1556. When Charles V, the Holy Roman Emperor first saw the comet he exclaimed "By this dread sign my fates do summon me". We have to remember that comets were often seen as bringers of doom and destruction.

Great comet of 1556

Erasmus Flock also conducted a review of the comets of 1531 and 1558, he died on July 21st  1568.

Tuesday 19 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Solar eclipse 103 BCE

Solar eclipse 103 BCE

On the 19th July 103 BCE there was an annular eclipse of the Sun visible over North Africa and Europe.

 It occurred at a time when the Cimbri who were either Germanic or Celtic tribes crossed over into Spain and laid the country to waste. 

Monday 18 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Rohini Satellite

Rohini Satellite

On July 18th 1980 the Rohini Satellite (RS1) was successfully launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. 

It was the first satellite successfully launched by the indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle  (SLV). It provided data on the fourth stage of SLV. The satellite had mission life of 1.2 years and an orbital life of 20 months.

Friday 15 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Mariner 4

Mariner 4

On July 15th 1965 Mariner 4 became the first space craft to reach Mars.

Although scientists knew that there were no canals or intelligent life on the red planet, many assumed that there would be tundra like plants and lichens there.

The photographs that Mariner 4 sent back although very grainy and of poor quality compared to those that are sent back from modern space craft today showed that Mars rather than being covered in simple plant life looked far more hostile and resembled the surface of the Moon.

In one moment in time Mariner 4 changed all the old fashioned romantic views of Mars. Today with rovers on the surface and space craft orbiting Mars, scientists are still trying to answer questions set by the first probe to visit Mars in 1965,  Mariner 4.

Thursday 14 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Comet 75 AD

Comet 75 AD

On July 14th 75 AD a comet was discovered in the constellation of Hydra and then moved into the constellation of Coma Berenices. 

This was reported by Chinese astronomers.

Wednesday 13 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook John Dee

John Dee 1527-1608

He was born in London on July 13th 1527, a mathematician and sorcerer, he observed the supernova of 1572 during the day and night and noted its place, motion height and other phenomena.

In 1573 he wrote a book on trigonometry and the parallax of stars. John Dee died in December 1608.  

Tuesday 12 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook 56 Cygni

56 Cygni

On the morning of July 12th 1973 the star 56 Cygni which is 1.8 degrees to the south east of the North American nebula was reported by James L Kuhns of Savannah, Georgia to be of magnitude 1.5. The star is normally of magnitude 5.1.

 The star has been reported as being a suspected nova like variable. The following evening 56 Cygni was back to 5th magnitude.   

Monday 11 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Jerome Lalande

Jerome Lalande

Jérôme Lalande, in full Joseph-Jérôme Lefrançais de Lalande, was born on July 11th  1732, in France he would go on to become an important French astronomer.

Lalande devoted himself to the improvement of planetary theory, publishing in 1759 a corrected edition of the tables of Halley’s Comet. He helped organize international collaboration in observing the transits of Venus in 1761 and 1769; the data obtained made possible the accurate calculation of the distance between Earth and the Sun. In 1762 Lalande was appointed to the chair of astronomy in the Collège de France, Paris, a position that he held for 46 years.

He died April 4th 1807 in Paris.

Sunday 10 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Telstar


On July 10th 1962 Telstar the world`s first telecommunications satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral. Telstar which was built by the American Bell AT&T company and it allowed `live` pictures to be beamed around the world for the first time.

The first picture beamed from the UK to the USA was of a young couple sitting in a river bank, the image appeared in the Daily Mail on July 13th. The couple were the young actor Richard Thorp who would go on to play Alan Turner in Emmerdale and a young model called Chloe Brown.

The idea of using satellites to provide worldwide communications was suggested in an article written in 1945 by Arthur C Clarke.

Britain received transatlantic pictures from American at 01.01 on July 11th; the image was of Mr Frederick Kappel, president of AT&T. It was received in Britain at the Post Office run Goonhilly Down tracking station in Cornwall. Due to its low orbit, transmissions could only last for about 20 minutes while Telstar was above the horizon.

It had been agreed that the first real TV programme would be bounced of Telstar on July 22nd; however on July 12th the French broadcast a French cabaret singer singing songs. This broadcast was described in the UK press as being of a pirate nature and this caused a row. The French described the broadcast as a communications experiment.

In the early 1960s radios using valve technology were unreliable; many people therefore believed that there had to be people on board Telstar changing the valves regularly.

Telstar ceased to function on Feb 12th 1963 only 7 months after its launch, this was partly caused by Atomic bomb tests, a day before the launch of Telstar the Americans launched the Starfish Prime atomic bomb which exploded at a height of 400km and was the largest man made nuclear explosion in space. Telstar will orbit the Earth as a dead satellite for about another 100,000 years.

In October 1962 the instrumental pop group the Tornados made the hit record Telstar which reached number 1 in the UK and US record charts.

Friday 8 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook James Wigglesworth

James Wigglesworth 1815-1888

On July 8th 1815 James Wigglesworth was born in Wibsey near Bradford in Yorkshire. He would go onto become a business man and astronomer and would build the biggest astronomical observatory in Scarborough, Yorkshire.

The observatory used to stand in the "V" at the corner of St James Road and Londesborough road. The observatory was built in 1884-1885. James owned the well-known astronomical firm of Thomas Cooke & Sons of York, and it was they who supplied and erected the 30' dome and the 15.5" F/15 Telescope.

James Wigglesworth died in 1888 and the observatory was sold after his death to another amateur astronomer,  Mr Vincenzo Cerulli of Italy.

We know it was dismantled and removed from Scarborough on or about 30th June 1890. It was transported to Italy, and re-erected on a hill called Collurania, near Teramo where it still exists today. After 1917, it was formally given to the state and became officially known as the 'Osservatorio Astronomico di Collurania - Teramo V Cerulli'

The only remaining evidence that an observatory ever existed at the site is a curved buttress in the garden supporting the boundary wall that must have been part of the original observatory structure.

Thursday 7 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Venus Occults Regulus

Venus occults Regulus

On the afternoon of July 7th 1959 a rare event took place. The planet Venus passed in front of the star Regulus in the constellation of Leo the Lion. This event is known as an occultation. The occultation lasted just 11 minutes and 4 seconds with mid occultation being at 2.25 pm.   

The next occultation of Regulus will occur on October 1, 2044, also by Venus.

Wednesday 6 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Lysithea


On July 6th 1939 the American astronomer Seth Nicholson discovered a small moon orbiting Jupiter. The moon was named Lysithea after the daughter of Oceanus and a lover of Zeus.

 The moon is only 36 km across and  orbits Jupiter at an average distance of 11.7 million km (7.03 million mi), completing one orbit in about 259 Earth days.

Monday 4 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Crab Nebula

Crab Nebula

On July 4th 1054 Chinese astronomers saw a bright star appear in the constellation of Taurus the Bull, This would become arguably one of the most famous stars. This was a supernova. The star would be visible for 653 days, nearly two years. A supernova is a star that destroys itself in a massive explosion.

The crab nebula has the designation M1, the French Comet hunter Charles Messier drew up a catalogue of nebulous looking objects to avoid being confused with comets. Most of his comets are now forgotten but his catalogue is still remembered and used by astronomers today with the crab nebula being the first in the list.  Today astronomers have trouble seeing an image of a crab!

In 1844, British astronomer William Parsons, the third Earl of Rosse, using the 72 in telescope at Birr Castle in Ireland sketched the nebula. The resemblance of the image to a crustacean led to M1's other name, the Crab Nebula.

The Crab Nebula is about 6,300 light years away and the nebula is now about 10 light years across.

Friday 1 July 2016

Astrognome Scrapbook Cassini

Cassini Mission to Saturn

On July 1st 2004 the Cassini probe arrived at Saturn. Cassini was launched in 1997 and since it arrived at Saturn it has sent back amazing photographs and scientific data regarding the famous ringed planet.

It had a passenger, the Huygens probe which in January 2005 successfully landed on Saturn's largest moon Titan ans sent back amazing information about this strange deep freeze version of Earth.

The mission is scheduled to end in 2017 but the information the probe has sent back regarding Saturn, its rings and moons will keep astronomers and scientists busy for many years in the future.