Monday, 27 December 2021

The Astronomy Show

 


Join me, Martin Lunn tonight and every Monday evening from 7.00 pm-9.00 pm on the Astronomy Show, I will take my weekly look at the night sky and look at all the latest news in astronomy. There will be the astronomical anniversaries this week plus the A-Z of Constellations and the Messier Marathon.



The Astronomy Show every Monday evening only on Drystone Radio 102 and 103.5 FM the show can be heard live on line at www.drystoneradio.com and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.



Monday, 20 December 2021

The Astronomy Show

 

Join me, Martin Lunn tonight and every Monday evening from 7.00 pm-9.00 pm on the Astronomy Show, I will take my weekly look at the night sky and look at all the latest news in astronomy. There will be the astronomical anniversaries this week plus the A-Z of Constellations and the Messier Marathon.



The Astronomy Show every Monday evening only on Drystone Radio 102 and 103.5 FM the show can be heard live on line at www.drystoneradio.com and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.




Friday, 17 December 2021

Before Yule Moon

 

The Before Yule Moon is the full moon which occurs before the feast of Yule on December 21st. This year that Full Moon falls on December 19th.

There are twelve full moons in a year each has its own name. These names go back over 1,000 years to the times of the monasteries. The monks watched the natural cycle of life including the night sky and divided the twelve full moons into the four seasons.

The feast of Yule occurs on the night of December 21st which is the day of the year when the Sun is at its lowest in the sky and produces the shortest period of daylight of the year. This date can vary from year to year by a day or so. This is known as Sol Invictus (The Undefeated Sun). It was originally a pagan festival. It is possible that after Constantine the Great became Emperor of the Roman empire in 324 CE and converted to Christianity, that he then merged this pagan feast with a Christian celebration.

Christmas Day was not celebrated on December 25th until 336 CE.

A long time ago people watched for the full moon in December; they then had from that date until the feast of Yule to chop down a Yule log from the forest in readiness to burn it from the feast of Yule for twelve nights. They would use some wood from the previous year as kindling to light their fire.

Today we often see the American names for the full moons being used. I however prefer to use the old English names.

Today of course the Yule log has turned from firewood into a cake!!





Monday, 13 December 2021

The Astronomy Show

 

Join me, Martin Lunn tonight and every Monday evening from 7.00 pm-9.00 pm on the Astronomy Show, I will take my weekly look at the night sky and look at all the latest news in astronomy. There will be the astronomical anniversaries this week plus the A-Z of Constellations and the Messier Marathon.



The Astronomy Show every Monday evening only on Drystone Radio 102 and 103.5 FM the show can be heard live on line at www.drystoneradio.com and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.




Mr Baxendell and Variable Stars 2

 

Mr Baxendell and Mr Knott followed up the wish to see people observing variable stars and produced in 1863 what was described as a valuable pamphlet “On the method of observing Variable Stars” by none other as Rev W R Dawes.




Sunday, 12 December 2021

Mr Baxendell and Variable Stars 1

 

At the meeting of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester on the 5th March 1862 Mr Baxendell drew attention to the attempt which is now being made to organise an association for the Systematic Observation of Variable Stars. He was working closely with Mr George Knot of Woodcroft Observatory, Cuckfield, Sussex.

MR Baxendell remarked that the importance of a careful study of the phenomena of Variable Stars will be apparent when it is considered that all the so called fixed stars-our own Sun included- are supposed to have a general similarity of constitution.

It was hoped that the work of Mr Baxendell and Mr Knott would help to organise an association for observing these objects on a well arranged system will meet with a ready response.

Mr Baxendell has just been elected President of the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester.






Saturday, 11 December 2021

William MacFarlane and his Cooke

 

Dr. William Evan MacFarlane was born on the island of New Caledonia which is located in the Pacific Ocean between Australia and Fiji. He was born in 1866 the son of a missionary.

He was educated in England and entered the medical profession and after first practising in Edinburgh moved to China. However due to civil unrest and then the war with Japan MacFarlane returned to England. He then served with the British army during the Boer war as a medical officer.

In 1903 he obtained the appointment as Government Medical Officer to a large mining district in North Queensland, Australia where he remained to his death. Outside his medical career he was very keen on astronomy.

He took charge of the Walsh Hospital at Irvinebank, North Queensland in 1906 where he also installed on Hospital Hill an observatory which housed a Thomas Cooke of York 7in telescope.




Friday, 10 December 2021

A Cooke for Maryport

 

Maryport Advertiser Friday 18th September 1863

SEPTEMBER 18, 1863. AN OBSERVATORY FOR MARYPORT

The late Mr Daniel Dawson in erecting the tall building at the South-West end of Crosby street, intended to furnish it with a large day and night telescope, camera obscure, and other instruments, suitable for an Observatory; but his sudden death occurring before his object was fully carried out, disappointed the hopes of many of his townsmen. The building is now let at a low rent as a dwelling house, but is still available for the object for which it was originally designed. The wish has lately been revived. It has been suggested to us that a joint stock company, under the Limited Liability Act, might readily be formed—say, at £1 per share; and for £l2O, or £l5O, the building might be provided with suitable instruments, and otherwise fitted up in the interior, so as to make it an attractive place of resort for our summer visitors as well as the inhabitants, on all occasions. We have submitted the plan to Thomas Cooke & Son, the Astronomical Instrument Makers, in York, and their reply to our queries is as follows:

The Telescope you refer to, is of 4 inches aperture. The object glass is manufactured by ourselves,—the tube and eye pieces are French, of which 8 are astronomical and 2 terrestrial. The equatorial mounts are by Adie, of Edinburgh, and are on Professor Smyth's mortar principle. It in furnished with graduated hour circle, and tangent screw motions, and declination circle. The object is quite new and excellent. The price, as above described, is 30 Guineas. As to the Camera, I should require the size of the object, for which it is intended, before 1 can glee you as answer. Yours &c

T. COOKE.


We believe the Telescope here described cost, originally, £80—but was taken back into stock by Messrs. Cooke in lieu of one adapted for an enlarged establishment. It is quite unnecessary for us to expatiate on the advantages to the town generally, in having something which would prove attractive to our summer visitors. neighbouring towns are stealing a march on us, and if we do not bestir ourselves we shall be distanced in the race. If, after securing the necessary astronomical and Mathematical apparatus to satisfy the more philosophical class, a collection of such natural products as the district furnishes were stored up there, it would soon become a local museum, to which the annual subscribers residing in the town could resort at, any time, especially when eclipses, comets, or other astronomical phenomena were to be seen while the strangers would find it a pleasant, as well as profitable place of resort to while away their tedious hours, and give a pleasing variety to their otherwise monotonous occupations. We shall shortly return to this subject. In the meantime let our friends digest some plan of carrying out the object.




Thursday, 9 December 2021

Lockyer, Tennyson and a Cooke

 

Westminster Gazette, Monday 12th December 1910

The very interesting little book, " Tennyson as a Student and Poet of Nature," by Sir Norman Lockyer, K.C.8., and Winifred L. Lockyer just published by Messrs. Macmillan (4s. M. net), contains the passages in the late Laureates works which deal with the scientific aspects of nature. "

All such references have been brought together and classified, and by means of notes kindly supplied by various authorities it has been shown how very true to fact Tennyson's descriptions are and how keen and careful an observer be was." Quite a number of prominent scientific authorities have given their assistance, and Lord Tennyson has also read some of the proofs and made suggestions.

In the matter of nature knowledge, Dante, it is contended, is the only poet Who can be even named along with Tennyson. Sir Norman Lockyer, in his preface, tells of his own meetings with Tennyson, and of the great interest the poet always took in matters scientific.

Sir Norman was living in 1864 at West Hampstead, and had erected his 6in. Cooke Equatorial in the garden, and concerning Tennyson he says : I soon found that he was an enthusiastic astronomer. and that few points of the descriptive part of the subject had escaped him. He was, therefore. often in the observatory. Some of his remarks still linger fresh in my memory. One night the moon’s terminator swept across the broken ground round Tycho, he said "What a splendid Hell that would make." Again, alter showing him the clusters in Hercules and Perseus, he remarked musingly. I cannot think much of the county families after that."

In the seventies and eighties Tennyson rarely came to London without discussing some scientific points with his friend. In 1890 Sir Norman visited Tennyson at Aldworth, when he was in his eighty-second year : I was then (says Sir Norman) writing the " Meteoritic Hypothesis" and he had asked for proof sheets. Where I arrived there I was touched to find that he had had them bound together for convenience in reading, and from the conversation we had I formed the impression that he had read every line. It was a subject after his own heart. . . . One of the nights during my stay was very fine, and be said to me " Now. Lockyer. let us look at the double stars again," and we did. There was a 2inch telescope at Aldworth. Tennyson's interest in astronomy was, Sir Norman adds, persistent until his death.

The breadth of Tennyson's outlook upon nature is, as Sir Norman Lockyer points out, only equalled by the minute accuracy of observation displayed. Hundreds of quotations are here grouped together from his poems, and they refer not only to evolution but to the starry heavens, the sun and sunlight, the moon and moonlight, bird-life and song, the insect world, animals and their ways, plants and trees, water and aquatic life, the importance of knowledge, and so forth.




Tuesday, 7 December 2021

York Observatory and Leeds Mechanics Institute

 

Yorkshire Gazette Saturday 27th June 1840

Visit of the Leeds Mechanics’ Institute to York

On Tuesday last, the members and subscribers of the Leeds’s Mechanics Institution returned the visit which members of the York Society for the Promotion of Popular Science paid to Leeds last summer, when the public exhibition was open.

W L Newman, Esq attended in the Observatory, and there unfolded the wonderful mechanisms for more clearly observing the heavenly bodies.


This was the period just before Thomas Cooke became involved with the York Observatory.




Monday, 6 December 2021

The Astronomy Show

 

Join me, Martin Lunn tonight and every Monday evening from 7.00 pm-9.00 pm on the Astronomy Show, I will take my weekly look at the night sky and look at all the latest news in astronomy. There will be the astronomical anniversaries this week plus the A-Z of Constellations and the Messier Marathon.



The Astronomy Show every Monday evening only on Drystone Radio 102 and 103.5 FM the show can be heard live on line at www.drystoneradio.com and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.




Sir William Keith Murray and his Cooke

 

On December 11th 1858 Sir William Keith Murray (1801-1861) of Ochertyre near Crieff in Scotland purchased a 9 inch telescope from Thomas Cooke of York. The telescope was massive and had a tube that was 13 feet long and was mounted on a stone pier 9 feet and 3 inches tall. Up until this point in time it was the largest telescope that Cooke had constructed and it was also at the time the largest refractor in Scotland.

The weather conditions were often poor at the location of the observatory and Murray was only able to use the Cooke for a short period before his death in 1861. Following his death the telescope was offered for sale unfortunately with no initial interest.

In 1863 a number of gentlemen raised £1,120 to purchase the telescope for the observatory at Glasgow University. It was sited at the Horselethill Observatory and used there until 1939 when the building was demolished. The 9 inch was always referred to as the 9 inch Ochertyre Telescope.

Following the demolition of the Horselethill Observatory a new student observatory was built in the University Gardens to house the 9 in Cooke. This was closed in 1969 after which I have no idea what happened to the 9 inch Cooke Ochtertyre Telescope.





Sunday, 5 December 2021

Asteroid 1899 FD discovered with Crossley Telescope

 

The Asteroid 1899 or 452 Hamiltonia was discovered by James Keeler using the 36 inch Crossley Reflector at Lick Observatory on December 6th 1899. The asteroid is named for Mount Hamilton where Keeler was working and where the Lick Observatory is located. 1899 FD was the last asteroid discovered in the 19th century.

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.




Saturday, 4 December 2021

Asteroid 718 Erida discovered with 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.




Friday, 3 December 2021

The Crossley Telescope and 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.




Thursday, 2 December 2021

Joseph Gledhill, Jupiter and a Cooke

 

Joseph Gledhill astronomy assistant to Edward Crossley at the Park Road Observatory in Halifax and using the 9.3 inch Cooke telescope observed Jupiter from November 4th 1869 until December 31st 1869. He observed the Great Southern Ellipse which was easily visible on November 11th 1869.

The 9.3 inch Cooke is still in use today at the Carter Observatory in New Zealand.




Wednesday, 1 December 2021

Great Comet of 1882 seen from India with a Cooke

 

The great comet of 1882 was first seen in September of that year and was observed and photographed by astronomers all around the world. This included from India.

On September 25th 1882 H Collett from Lahore, the Punjab, India observed the comet with a 4.5 inch Cooke telescope. At 04 hours and 50 minutes local time the comet was estimated to be about 14 degrees long and of unusual breadth. The borders of the tail appear much brighter that the central part.




Monday, 29 November 2021

The Astronomy Show

 

Join me, Martin Lunn tonight and every Monday evening from 7.00 pm-9.00 pm on the Astronomy Show, I will take my weekly look at the night sky and look at all the latest news in astronomy. There will be the astronomical anniversaries this week plus the A-Z of Constellations and the Messier Marathon.



The Astronomy Show every Monday evening only on Drystone Radio 102 and 103.5 FM the show can be heard live on line at www.drystoneradio.com and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.



Isaac Roberts, Nebula and a Cooke

 

In Monthly Notices, LXIII, 1, Dr Isaac Roberts contributes a most valuable and startling paper on the subject of 52 regions observed as nebulous by Sir William Herschel. These regions were photographed using both the 20 inch reflector and 5 inch Cooke & Sons refractor. The surprising result is that in only 4 out of the 52 regions is any nebulosity found.




Sunday, 28 November 2021

Will Hay, Nova Puppis and a Cooke

 

Will Hay is best remembered as a comedian of the stage and in films in the 1930s and 1940s. He was also a very competent astronomer who discovered a white spot on Saturn in 1933 using a 6 inch Cooke telescope. He also observed Nova Puppis 1942 with a Cooke this time a 3.5 inch telescope.

Observing from London early in the morning of November 24th 1942 and using his 3.5 inch Cooke he saw the nova. He had seen it a few days earlier on November 14th as a naked eye object of around magnitude 3.5. By November 24th it had faded and a telescope was needed to see it.

It was very close to the horizon and he estimated the brightness of the nova as between magnitude 4 and 5 but as he commented being so close to the horizon it is difficult to estimate the brightness of a star so low in the sky due to the amount of atmosphere the light has to pass through.

Will Hay was also struck by the red colour of the nova. He checked other stars nearby of about the same brightness and they appeared to be their normal colours suggesting that the redness was in the nova itself.

Nova Puppis was discovered by Bernhard Dawson at the La Plata Observatory in Argentina on November 8th 1942. It reached a maximum magnitude of 0.3 on November 10th 1942.





Saturday, 27 November 2021

Amalthea seen with the 25 inch Cooke

On January 24th and February 4th 1893 Mr Newall using the 25 inch Thomas Cooke & Sons telescope at the new observatory at Cambridge observed the 5thsatellite of Jupiter.

(I assume by the 5thsatellite he means Amalthea which was discovered by Barnard in 1892)

Mr Newall remarked that it has been most justly described as a very difficult object to see.






Friday, 26 November 2021

New Home for Newall Telescope

 By November 1891 the 25 inch Newall Telescope and dome are all but completely mounted on their new site at Cambridge. 

Mr H F Newall son of Mr R Newall who purchased the 25 inch telescope from Thomas Cooke & Sons has built himself a house close by, whence he has been superintending the project.







Thursday, 25 November 2021

Maw and his two Cookes

 

William Henry Maw (1836 – 1924) was born in Scarborough on December 6th 1836, when he was growing up he was friends with the sons of Dr Harland, two who would become the founders of the Harland & Wolf ship builders. Both his parents died when he was in his teens, without influences and an advantage of a higher education he was still able to raise himself to become a leading authority in the fields of mechanics and engineering.

His leisure time was however devoted to astronomy. In Kensington, London in 1887 he built an observatory for his 6 inch Cooke telescope which he used to study the Moon. Later from 1897 when he lived in Surrey he built an observatory for a larger 8 inch Cooke telescope. This had originally been owned by the Rev R W Dawes and would later be located at the Institute of Astronomy at Cambridge and known as the Thorrowgood Telescope.

W H Maw made extensive observations of double stars using both Cooke telescopes. In particular the double stars from the Struve catalogue. His observations were considered to be very accurate. Maw was a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and one of the founders of the British Astronomical Society.




Monday, 22 November 2021

The Astronomy Show

 

Join me, Martin Lunn tonight and every Monday evening from 7.00 pm-9.00 pm on the Astronomy Show, I will take my weekly look at the night sky and look at all the latest news in astronomy. There will be the astronomical anniversaries this week plus the A-Z of Constellations and the Messier Marathon.




The Astronomy Show every Monday evening only on Drystone Radio 102 and 103.5 FM the show can be heard live on line at www.drystoneradio.com and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.




Sunday, 21 November 2021

The Frost Moon

 The Full Moon in November is referred to as the Frost Moon as this is the month when the first frosts can be expected and it lived up to its name this year with the first hard frosts in England.





 

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Jupiter with no visible Moons seen from Liverpool with a Cooke

 

On August 22nd 1867, John Joynson at Waterloo near Liverpool observed Jupiter with no satellites visible. This was done using a 6 inch Thomas Cooke & Sons telescope.




Friday, 19 November 2021

Airy verses a Cooke

 

The occultation of Aldebaran in 1867 was observed by Mr Airy who remarked that the star did not come out bright instantaneously but was 38 seconds regaining its full light.

Whereas Mr Joynson with his 3.5 inch Thomas Cooke & Sons telescope described the star as sliding on the Moon’s disk at the immersion but re appearing instantaneously.




Thursday, 18 November 2021

Venus seen at Worsley, Manchester with a Cooke

 

A drawing of Venus was made at the observatory of Mr Chatwood at Worsley, Manchester using his 9.75 inch Thomas Cooke & Sons telescope. This was reported at the British Astronomical Association meeting on December 18th 1901.




Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Saturn's Rings seen with a Cooke

 

Mr R Congrieve-Pridgeon using the 6 inch Cooke refractor at the Hampstead Observatory got observations on February 22nd 1937 one or two days after the passage of Saturn’s rings had passed through the plane.

Mr Congrieve-Pridgeon glimpsed it as a fine silver line shortly after sunset and at 18h and 5 min made the note ‘Ring E and W seemed certain; very fine golden line.




Monday, 15 November 2021

Lunar Eclipse seen with a Cooke on a Cooke

 

BAA vol 60 No 2 1950 page 47


Mr Ovenden then showed on the screen slide reproductions of two photographs of the (lunar) eclipse taken by Mr M J Smyth, a member who is a research student at the Cambridge Observatories. They were taken with a Leica camera at the focus of a 4 inch Cooke photovisual objective, focal length 72 inches attached to the mounting of the 25 inch Newall refractor.




The Astronomy Show

 

Join me, Martin Lunn tonight and every Monday evening from 7.00 pm-9.00 pm on the Astronomy Show, I will take my weekly look at the night sky and look at all the latest news in astronomy. There will be the astronomical anniversaries this week plus the A-Z of Constellations and the Messier Marathon.



The Astronomy Show every Monday evening only on Drystone Radio 102 and 103.5 FM the show can be heard live on line at www.drystoneradio.com and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.


Sunday, 14 November 2021

Nova Hercules 1934 seen with Cooke from Hampstead

 

Dr Steavenson using the 6 inch Cooke refractor of the Observatory of the Hampstead Scientific Society showed on the epidiascope a light curve of Nova Hercules, and during March 1935 there was a steady fall to a minimum mag of 5.0 on March 21st There then was a marked recovery to mag 3.9 by March 25th.




Saturday, 13 November 2021

Trapezium faint stars seen with a 4.5 inch Cooke

 

To the editor of the Astronomical Register

sir- Your correspondent Mr D A Freeman, should be able to see both the small stars in the trapezium of Orion on a fine night with a 4.5 inch glass. I have seen them easily with a 4.5 inch telescope; but in saying this, I would also remark that on a bad night I have failed to see either of them through my 8.5 inch by Cooke of York.

I am sir yours faithfully Frederick Brodie- February 1865.




Friday, 12 November 2021

Pro-Am Astronomy 19th century style

 

Weekly Advertiser Sunday 22nd October 1865

Amateur astronomers of Great Britain and Ireland are invited to send to the President of the Royal Astronomical Society, Somerset House, a short account of their means of observation : for example, the nature of the instruments they possess stating (in the case of telescopes) whether they are refractors or reflectors, their aperture, focal length, and form of mounting; also, whether the instruments are placed in observatories or used in the open air.




Thursday, 11 November 2021

Birmingham University Cooke

 

The 7 inch Thomas Cooke & Sons telescope at the University of Birmingham was used in particular by Dr Young in the 1920s to take a series of photographs of the surface of the Moon. These were used to measure the diameters of lunar craters.




Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Sir Frank Watson Dyson, the Time Pip Man

 

Sir Frank Watson Dyson 1868-1939 was born near Ashby de la Zouche in Leicestershire who is largely remembered today for introducing the time signals or (pips) from Greenwich.

Although not born in Yorkshire when he was very young his family moved to Yorkshire. He attended the Heath Grammar School, Halifax. He then won a scholarship to Bradford Grammar School and then Trinity College, Cambridge where he studied astronomy and mathematics.

In 1894 he was given the post of senior assistant at Greenwich Observatory and worked on the astrographic catalogue which was a massive international project which started in the late 19th century to photograph the night sky. It was only partially success with some areas of the sky never being completed. The British section was however completed in 1905.

Frank Watson Dyson was appointed astronomer royal for Scotland from 1905-1910 and astronomer royal at the royal Greenwich observatory from 1910 to 1933. He was knighted in 1915.

Probably his most known contribution came about in 1924 when he introduced the six time pips via the BBC. While in 1928 he introduced what was at the time the most accurate clock and organised wireless transmissions from the GPO wireless station at Rugby. With all his work on clocks he was for several years the president of the British Horological Society.

Sir Frank met King George v in 1925 and took him for a tour around the Greenwich Observatory this was part of a meeting of the International Astronomical Union IAU who were meeting at Cambridge. Frank Watson Dyson would become president of the IAU between 1928-1932. Another Yorkshire Alfred Fowler was in fact the first secretary of the IAU in 1919.

Sir Frank was at Giggleswick School in 1927 for the eclipse of the Sun that was visible over North Wales and Northern England. He had a great interest in eclipses of the Sun and helped to organise the expeditions to Brazil to observe it and astronomers there confirmed Albert Einstein’s theory of the effect gravity on light.

He worked with astronomers around the world and this was appreciated with everyone who knew him. One interesting story much closer to home comes from the 1920s involved a telephone called that a clergyman from Blackheath in London took from Sir Frank. He told the clergyman there was a crack on the church tower. The clergyman asked how do you know, I can’t see anything wrong. Sir Frank replied No I daresay not but with my big telescope I can. I assume this was the 28 inch refractor at Greenwich

The crater Dyson on the Moon is named after him as is the asteroid 1241 Dysona.

Sir Frank Watson Dyson’s health was failing and sadly he died on a ship travelling from Australia back to England. He died on May 25th 1939 and was buried at sea.
















Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Jupiter and his satellites seen with a Cooke from Worcester

 

On the 21st August 1866 Thomas Barneby of Worcester observed Jupiter and his satellites using a 9 inch Thomas Cooke telescope that had originally been made for the late Captain Jacob.

Rather confusingly Thomas Barneby’s observatory changes name from the mid 1860s when it is called South Villa Observatory to in 1874 when it is called the Morton House Observatory. I don’t know if this was due to a move of house but in both cases the addresses were near Worcester.

To get back to Jupiter he describes that when he first saw Jupiter, the shadow of the third satellite only was on its disk. The third satellite itself next made its ingress, and I afterwards saw several ingresses of the shadows of the fourth and first satellites.

The second satellite had then become eclipsed leaving no satellite visible, except on the face of the planet.

The three shadows were perfectly black and there was no perceptible penumbra, although the outlines were not so clearly defined as I have seen them with a smaller instrument.




Monday, 8 November 2021

The Astronomy Show

 

Join me, Martin Lunn tonight and every Monday evening from 7.00 pm-9.00 pm on the Astronomy Show, I will take my weekly look at the night sky and look at all the latest news in astronomy. There will be the astronomical anniversaries this week plus the A-Z of Constellations and the Messier Marathon.



The Astronomy Show every Monday evening only on Drystone Radio 102 and 103.5 FM the show can be heard live on line at www.drystoneradio.com and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.


A Cooke in Dorset

 

Yorkshire Gazette 9th June 1861

Mr H S Eaton of Dorset, a distinguished meteorologist has recently observed and made  beautiful drawings of both Jupiter and Saturn  using his newly installed 10 inch Thomas Cooke and Sons telescope. 




Sunday, 7 November 2021

The George Banaster Cooke Telescope

 

Tewksbury Register and Agricultural Gazette Saturday 5th October 1901

The estate of George Banaster, Mythe Villa, Tewksbury will be sold at auction by Moore and Sons included is a magnificent 4 inch equatorial telescope by Cooke.




Saturday, 6 November 2021

Yorkshire Fine Arts & Industrial Exhibition and Cooke

 

York Herald Saturday 25th August 1866


From this case the catalogue directs the attention of the visitor to that beautiful one which has been contributed by the Messrs. T. Cooke and Sous, of Buckingham Works. York. This contains a large variety of articles, the uses of which it would be difficult for any but of scientific attainments to decide; and we therefore append a list for the benefit of those who, attracted to an examination of them, cannot, for the nicety and finish displayed in their manufacture, help but admire. In the centre of the case is a large theodolite (ten inches) on Everest's principle of construction; two smaller theodolites, of five and six inches, and the same construction; and one six-inch engineer's transit theodolite. Surrounding these are three engineer's levels, with telescopes of from ten to fourteen inches focal length ; several portable and pocket telescopes ; a small telescope on stand ; a compound acromatic microscope, with geometrical stage with rectangular and circular motions ; several aneroid barometers, possessing T. Cooke and Sons' patent, much used by scientific travellers and the Alpine Club for measuring heights; cases of first-class mathematical drawing instruments a lathe slide rest, with straight line, rectangular and circular motions, and carrying cutting apparatus for gentlemen's fancy and ornamental turning ; a geometrical lathe chuck, of ten inches diameter, for producing or generating an infinite variety of beautiful figures and patterns required in ornamental turning ; a cutter frame and guide pulleys ; a rose engine and cutters used in ornamental turning ; a variety of binocular opera and tourist glasses ; a large first-class silver medal, awarded to T. Cooke and Sons at the Paris Exhibition of 1865; and two first-class medals also awarded to them at the London Exhibition of 1862. At one end of the case is an astronomical clock, with mercurial compensated pendulum. This instrument can be adjusted for mean time, and thus forms an excellent regulator, suitable for a gentleman's hall. At the other end of the principal case is probably the largest extent aneroid barometer, remarkably sensitive, the dial about two feet diameter, giving a scale of fourteen inches for a corresponding one inch in the mercurial barometer. The theodolites and levels' first mentioned contain numerous improvements introduced by T. Cooke and Sons, and of such instruments they supply many to Government to be used on the great trigonometrical survey of India. It need scarcely be added that the Messrs. Cooke have made the city celebrated for the manufacture of the above description of articles, and that beyond their case there are few possessing more interest in the Exhibition.




Friday, 5 November 2021

Mr. Baxendell, Delphinus and Manchester

 

On October 24th 1863 Mr Baxendell in Manchester announced the discovery of a new variable star in Delphinus with a magnitude of 8.6. By December it had fallen to magnitude 12. After conjunction with the Sun it was found again on July 29th 1864 as a magnitude 13 object. From then until September 5th it rose to magnitude 8.4.

Although not given a variable star designation at the time I believe this star is Z Delphinus a long period variable star with a period of 304 days and varying between 8.3 and 15.3





Thursday, 4 November 2021

Venus seen with a small Cooke

 

On February 15th 1868 at 6.15 pm William Lawton of Hull observed the planet Mercury, it was as he described one of the clearest views he had of that planet.

Using powers of 50 and up to 100 on the 2 inch Cooke and Sons telescope he was able to observe the gibbous aspect of the planet and also took note of its brilliancy.




Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Bright spot on dark side of the Moon seen with a Cooke

 

 At 7h.30m on the 9th inst, while waiting for the occultation of 130 Tauri, I was surprised to observe, a spot on the dark side of the Moon’s disc, nearly equal in brightness to a star of the 7th mag,; it was so conspicuous that it could not possible have been overlooked by the most careful; observer.

Unfortunately, I was unable to fix its position with accuracy; but after careful consideration I think its place was nearly, if not quite, identical with that of Aristarchus.

The outlines of the various ‘seas’ and of a few of the larger craters on the NE and SE quadrants were very plainly seen; Grimaldi, especially, was remarkable distinct.

I watched he spot from 7h 30m to 8h 30m; at about 8h 15m it became much fainter; and on returning to my observatory at about 9h I could scarcely perceive any trace of it.

Although I have observed very similar phenomena on former occasions, yet I have never before seen a spot on the dark side of the Moon with such remarkable clearness.

The definition on the evening of the 9th inst was bad, but the atmosphere was unusually clear.


Powers used: 75 and 115 on 4 inches aperture by Cooke.

T G E Elger

Bedford April 12th 1867





Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Frederick Brodie and an 8.5 inch Cooke Telescope

 

Frederick Brodie was born in Eastbourne Sussex on July 19th 1835, his mother Anna was the daughter of John Walter MP, the founder of the Times. He studied at the University of Edinburgh his background would be engineering but he had a great interest in astronomy.

Originally he settled in Somerset with his wife where he had an observatory with a 6.25 in Merz refractor. On the death of his wife in 1854 he moved from Somerset to Eastbourne where he relocated his observatory, following his second marriage in 1858 he moved to Uckfield in Sussex .

Brodie had an 8.5 in Cooke refractor which he obtained around 1860 shortly after moving to Uckfield. During the next 18 years he would observations of the Sun, star clusters and comets. In Chambers Handbook of Descriptive astronomy there are drawings made by Brodie of Sunspots in 1865 and comet Coggia in 1874 using the Cooke telescope.

In 1878 Brodie moved again with his observatory to Wootton on the Isle of Wight where he set up the Fernhill Observatory. Brodie died on August 14th 1896. In 2000 the whole observatory and telescope was sold to a buyer in America, where I believe it still to be.




Monday, 1 November 2021

The Astronomy Show

 

Join me, Martin Lunn tonight and every Monday evening from 7.00 pm-9.00 pm on the Astronomy Show, I will take my weekly look at the night sky and look at all the latest news in astronomy. There will be the astronomical anniversaries this week plus the A-Z of Constellations and the Messier Marathon.



The Astronomy Show every Monday evening only on Drystone Radio 102 and 103.5 FM the show can be heard live on line at www.drystoneradio.com and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.


A Derby Cooke for Sale

 

London Evening Standard Monday 24th September 1900


Tuesday next, September 25th

Sold by order of the executers of the late J Barber Esq, formerly of Spondon, near Derby

Mr J C Stevens will sell by auction at his great rooms 38 King Street, Covent Garden on Tuesday, September 25th next at half past twelve o’clock an EQUATORIAL TELESCOPE by Cooke & Sons of York: 7.25 inch object glass, eyepieces, clock & on iron column, position micrometer, anemometers, spectroscopes, Ross best binocular microscope with nine objectives and other apparatus, cabinets of microscopical slides, lantern microscope apparatus by Newton, gas bottles, gauges, screens, quartz, flints and other prisms, diffraction gratings, electric and other clocks, a fine ship’s chronometer, expensive Geisler’s tubes and X Ray tubes and other important scientific apparatus.- On view day prior from ten until four, and morning of sale, catalogues on application.




Sunday, 31 October 2021

The Crossley Reflector, the Trumpler Cluster Catalogue and Halifax

 

Robert Trumpler 1886-1955 photographed nearly all the bright open clusters about 50 in number with the slit less quartz spectrograph attached to the Crossley Telescope with exposures of from 5 to 7 hours. This was done during 1925-1926. This work would be used in the Trumpler Catalogue of clusters which was published in 1930. This catalogue is still used today by astronomers.

The Crossley Telescope was owned by Edward Crossley in Halifax, Yorkshire from 1885 until 1896, however the skies above Halifax meant that the telescope could not be used to best effect. In 1896 it was donated to the Lick Observatory in California where it would be used in many pioneering projects early in the 20th century.

The slit less spectrograph was designed and constructed by C Donald Shane 1895-1983 while he was assistant professor of maths and astronomy at the university of California for the purpose of applying it to the study of nebulae.






Saturday, 30 October 2021

A Cooke in Camden Square

 

On September 20th 1865 John Lampray of Camden Square London purchased a 2.25 inch OG in its cell with a focal length of 45 inches From Thomas Cooke and Sons. He later purchased a larger 4.5 inch Cooke and Sons telescope.

My next reference to him comes in 1884 when the 4.5 inch together with its observatory was advertised for sale. The observatory was described as being in an excellent condition with a revolving dome covered in zinc with a sliding shutter.

I do not know if the telescope and observatory were being sold due to the death of John Lampray or whether he was unable to use the telescope. Astronomers in London might know.




Friday, 29 October 2021

A Cooke in Midlothian

 

Thomas Bauchope 1823-1889 was born at Brucefield in Midlothian, he succeeded his father as factor or property manager on several estates in Midlothian. His main leisure interest was in the sciences and in particular astronomy.

He had an observatory in his garden with a 4 inch Cooke telescope. His telescope is listed as a Cooke rather than a Cooke and Sons which suggests that the telescope is a pre 1857 model. He contributed a series of articles on astronomy to a local paper. He was known to try to encourage working class people to take an interest in either astronomy or another science.

Thomas Bauchope died on December 8th 1889 and his telescope was offered for sale at £70 at today’s price that would be just over £9,000!!!