Friday 4 December 2020

The Crossley Telescope discovers Asteroid 718 Erida


Asteroid 718 Erida discovered by Crossley Telescope

On December 3rd 1910 Dr Curtiss and Miss Young using the 36 inch Crossley telescope discovered the asteroid 718 Erida. Dr Curtiss took the photograph and it was then discovered by Miss Young checking the photograph. The asteroid has a diameter of about 70 km, with an orbital period of 5.3 years.

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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