Thursday 3 December 2020

The Crossley Telescope discovers Jupiter's Moon Himalia


The Crossley Telescope discovers Jupiter’s Moon Himalia

On December 3rd 1904 Charles Perrine using the 36 inch Crossley reflector at the Lick Observatory in California discovered the 6th moon of Jupiter, Himalia. The moon was named after a nymph on the island of Rhodes and according to Greek mythology she was one of the lovers of Zeus.

Himalia is the 5th largest moon of Jupiter it has a radius of 85 km and lies at a distance of 11.5 million km for Jupiter and takes 251 Earth days to complete one orbit of Jupiter.

The 36 inch reflector had been owned by Edward Crossley of Halifax, Yorkshire who owned Crossley Carpets the largest carpet manufacturer in the world in the 19th century. He purchased it in the 1880s from A. A. Common of Ealing, London. Although it was at the time the largest reflector in England due to the poor observing conditions in the skies over Halifax which was due to the pollution from the many factories in Halifax it was impossible to use the telescope to its best.

In the mid 1890s he donated the telescope to the new Lick Observatory in California. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Crossley reflector at Lick proved to be a real trail blazing telescope leading in astronomical research in many different areas. It was also the largest reflector in America until the building of the 100 inch telescope at Mount Hamilton.

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