Monday 13 April 2020

Astronomy in the North West # 6 The Trapezium and Astronomers in Manchester

The Trapezium and Astronomers in Manchester

I have come across a couple of short reports from 1870 with reports of how many stars can be seen in a small area of the Orion Nebula called the Trapezium.

The Trapezium is a young open cluster where stars are being created now, it is a stellar nursery containing about 2,000 stars,

Let us return to 1870 Mr S Broughton of 46 Fountain Street Manchester asks why there appear to have been no drawings of the stars inside the Trapezium since 1867 when some stars were seen. However it appears that Mr Broughtonhad not seen the following.

Another astronomer from Manchester, Mr Edmund Salter using a 12 inch reflector recorded 9 stars in the Trapezium in December 1869 and January 1870 and possibly 10 stars. Mr Salter’s drawings almost perfectly coincide with those of Mr Huggins from 1866.

Mr Huggins drawing of 1866

I know nothing else about Mr Broughton but Mr Slater who was very short sighted which did not matter when he was looking through the eyepiece of a telescope. Later  in 1870 and I believe it was in October Mr Slater was involved in a very melancholy accident at Peterborough Railway Station, I assume it means he walked in front of a train and was sadly killed.

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