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!!!




Thursday, 28 October 2021

Florence Taylor and the Leeds Astronomical Society

 

Florence Taylor 1865 – 1932 was born in Leeds the daughter of a wealthy iron foundry owner. There is little known about her early life but we assume that she was highly educated coming as she did from a well off family.

We do know that she joined the Leeds Astronomical Society in 1895, the Leeds AS was the oldest astronomical society in the country originally being formed in 1859 and then reformed on a more permanent basis in1890. She was the first women to present a lecture to the Leeds AS the topic was the woman astronomer Mary Somerville.

In 1898 she married Dr Hildred a Yorkshire born farmer and moved to America firstly living in in Minnesota, and then California. I have little information on what she did while in America but she certainly still had a great interest in astronomy.




Wednesday, 27 October 2021

John Chamber of Leeds and the Length of the Year

 

John Chamber 1546-1604 was born at Swillington near Leeds little is known of his early life but he was a fellow of Merton College, Oxford where he lectured on astronomy, with his friend Henry Savile, he would later go to Eton College. He became a clergyman of the Church of England and an author, especially on astronomy and astrology. He worked with Savile on the proposed introduction date of the Gregorian calendar. Chamber wrote several works where he claimed that astrology had many technical faults and only stupid people would rely on it. This caused him many problems because astrology was still regarded as a serious science at the time. In fact George Carleton bishop of Chichester had to defend his name after his death because the works he wrote regarding astrology were causing such an offence to astrologers.

He became a canon at St George’s Chapel, Windsor where he was entombed when he died in 1604.




My astronomy podcasts at www.theramblingastronomer.co.uk are now in the top 25 astronomy podcasts on the web according www.feedspot.com


Tuesday, 26 October 2021

A 12 inch Cooke in Surrey and Spectra

 

Sir Henry Thompson at his observatory at Hurst Side, West Molesey, Surrey which houses a 12 inch Thomas Cook and Sons of York telescope has been observing the spectra of nebula. The observatory was established here in April 1888.

In 1888 using the 12 inch Cooke he observed the nebula in Orion, between September and December, the Andromeda nebula in October and again in December. He had earlier in the year observed the nebula in Lyra.




Monday, 25 October 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.



Henry Briggs, Halifax and Logarithms

 

Think of maths lessons at school think of Logarithms then think of Henry Briggs 1561-1631, if you didn’t like log tables he would be the man to blame and he was a Yorkshire man. Although he didn’t invent the logarithm he made them more useable in the scientific community. He was also a damn good astronomer!

Born at Warleywood near Halifax, he would become a mathematical astronomer; Briggs went to a local grammar school before going on to St John’s College Cambridge in 1577. During the 1590s he was working closely with the mathematician and map maker Edward Wright who in the 1580s had been ordered by Elizabeth I to go with an expedition to attack the Portuguese Azores to carry out navigational studies, he also helped Emery Molyneux to produce the first celestial globes in England in 1593. Briggs and Wright who came from Norfolk collaborated with their astronomical studies; we know their observations included those of the Sun and his was very interested in the study of eclipses which took up much of his time. He was also a great believer in the idea of Copernicus that the Sun was at the centre of the solar system and not the Earth.

Briggs was also fortunate enough to obtain a copy in English of one of the most important books in the history of astronomy shortly after it was published. Don’t forget most books at this time will be written in Latin. Astronomia Nova or New Astronomy was written by Johann Kepler who for ten years had observed the path of Mars around the sky and his observations confirmed that the path of Mars across the sky only worked if the Sun was at the centre.

Astronomers use globes and maps with their studies today, but the first person from Yorkshire to have one was Henry Briggs in the early 1590s!

And it is amazing to think that it was with his work with Wright that Briggs met the astronomer Thomas Harriot who is now credited as the first astronomer to draw an astronomical object after viewing it through a telescope: he drew a map of the Moon on 26 July 1609, this was several months before Galileo.

In an age where astrology was an important topic for most men of learning, Briggs strongly opposed it however that did not stop him working with astrologers for example when in 1603 there was a conjunction of the planets Saturn and Jupiter. A conjunction of planets occurs when two or more planets appear to be very close to each other in the sky. This is of course just a line of sight effect because the planets are all many millions of miles apart from each other. They tried to put an astrological interpretation but had observed the event so the astronomical observations they made were very useful.

An event then occurred for which Briggs is probably better known. In 1616 he visited John Napier at Edinburgh who had invented the Logarithm in order to discuss some changes he wanted to make; he proposed that the original logarithms that Napier had introduced should be changed into common (base 10) logarithms, which are sometimes known as Briggsian logarithms in his honour.

The common logarithms were more useful and a great aid to Briggs when he published his works on navigation, astronomy, and mathematics. In fact it was Briggs who was the man most responsible for scientists' acceptance of logarithms.

In 1596, he became first professor of Geometry in the recently founded Gresham College, London; where he taught geometry, astronomy and navigation. He would lecture there for nearly 23 years, in 1619 he was appointed Savilian professor of geometry at Oxford.

There is even a little bit of Yorkshire on the Moon! Henry Briggs has a crater on the Moon named after him; Briggs is located in the western part of the Oceanus Procellarum or Ocean of Storms. He died on January 26th 1631



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Sunday, 24 October 2021

The Savalian Professor of Astronomy and Halifax

 

One of the most prestigious positions in astronomy today is to be the Savilian Professor of Astronomy at the University of Oxford. You have probably guessed it, it was a Yorkshire man who established that position, Sir Henry Savile November 1549 – 1622. He was born at Bradley, near Halifax.

He was an English scholar, Warden of Merton College, Oxford, and Provost or chairman of the governing body of Eton College. He was also a Member of Parliament. In 1583 Henry Savile together with John Chamber and Thomas Digges were asked to sit on a commission to consider whether England should adopt the Gregorian calendar, as proposed by John Dee.

The Gregorian calendar had been introduced into catholic Europe in 1582 when ten years were lost but in protestant countries such as Britain it would not be adopted until 1752. This meant that when the Gregorian calendar was eventually introduced in Britain and its colonies much later than most of Europe the error  had increased so much that to replace the Julian calendar eleven days were lost. If you was living anywhere in Britain  in 1752, Wednesday September 2nd was followed by Thursday 14th September!

Savile was one of the scholars who would translate the New Testament from Greek into English.

In 1604 Savile was knighted and in 1619 he established at the university of Oxford the position of Savilian Professor of Astronomy. It has to be filled by a scholar of distinction, with an outstanding teaching, research and publication record.


























Saturday, 23 October 2021

Captain Scott, the South Pole and a Cooke

 

Most people know of the story of Captain Scott and his expedition trying to become the first people to reach the south pole on Antarctica during the summer of 1911/1912. Unfortunately when he arrived he discovered that he had been beaten by the Norwegian team led by Roald Amundsen. 

Amundsen reached the south pole on the 14th December 1911, while Scott reached the south pole on January 17th 1912. Sadly on the return journey Scott and his team perished in the very cold conditions.

However what is perhaps less well know is that Captain Scott and his team took a light weight theodolite specially made by Thomas Cooke of York with him the mark the position of the south pole. It was one of only 6 of these special theodolites made by Cooke’s for the expedition.

When the rescue team found the bodies of Scott and his team in their tent they also found the Cooke theodolite that was used by Scott to mark the south pole.

This instrument was on display at the physics department at the University of York, however I cannot say if it is still there today.





Friday, 22 October 2021

John Field the proto Copernican of Yorkshire

 

John Field 1527-1587 was born in Ardsley to the SW of Leeds in the West Riding, an astronomer who seems to be missed off many people’s radar. His describes himself as being a farmer, and sometimes student in the mathematic sciences. Yet this farmer would become a trail blazer and was the first person to publish an ephemeris or movements of the stars and planets in England that was based on the Copernican theory. John Field was known as the proto Copernican of England.

The Copernican theory was put forward by Nicolas Copernicus a Polish canon and astronomer who said that the Sun was at the centre of the solar system and not the Earth. The idea of the Earth centred system had been proposed by Aristotle around 350 BCE. This idea had been promoted by the church through monasteries.

As a young boy John Field went to Woodkirk Priory which was a cell of the Augustine monastery at Nostell Priory near Wakefield. Woodkirk would be closed during the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1539. This is almost certainly where his mathematical talents were first seen.

Amazingly he became astronomer/astrologer of the young Princess Elizabeth Tudor; an associate and friend of John Dee who was astronomer/astrologer of Queen Mary Tudor. Dee would later become astronomer/astrologer to Queen Elizabeth.

In 1554 Following the failure of Wyatt's rebellion, a popular uprising in England over the concern of Queen Mary to marry Philip of Spain, Queen Mary imprisoned Princess Elizabeth in the Tower of London and later moved her to Woodstock under house arrest. In 1555 the Privy Council also ordered the arrest of astrologers John Field and John Dee over charges of "endeavouring by enchantmentes to destroy Queen Mary" in the matter of her failure to produce an heir; and bewitching children; etc. They were jailed, it was here that the young princess Elizabeth met John Dee and John Field. Although it was in April 1555 that Elizabeth was released Field and Dee were not released until Christmas 1556. It was probably during their imprisonment as they had little else to do that the two friends had worked on their recognition and ideas of the Sun-centric planetary system as propounded by Nicholas Copernicus. The following year 1557 John Field published his work based on the Copernican system, with a preface by John Dee. The book is an almanac of star and planet positions.

During 1558 John Field of Ardsley was granted a coat arms in recognition for his work in navigation. The crest has the slogan SEMPER IN MOTU which translates to “Always in Motion” for his work on the shifting positions of the Sun, Moon and Stars.

In November 1558 Queen Mary was executed and her half sister became Queen Elizabeth the first. John Dee as court astrologer had to set the date for the coronation. Maybe he tired of court life and wanted to return to his roots in Yorkshire. Following on after the death of his father, John Field returned to Yorkshire and to Ardsley to go back to farming.

It is worth noting that at this time astrologers were often mathematical astronomers and the two subjects were very similar to each other. However at this period in time astrologers would produce almanacs with very little science value while astronomers would produce a more scientific version. However this story does show that it could be dangerous to be an astrologer in the 1550s.

Between 1543 when Copernicus wrote his book On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres and 1600 there were less than a dozen astronomers or scientists all with very well-known names including Thomas Digges and Thomas Hariot in England; Giordano Bruno and Galileo Galilei in Italy; and Johannes Kepler in Germany who supported these new ideas, and yet there is not a mention of John Field. He not only agreed with Copernicus he was the first person to write about those ideas in England so should be included on any distinguished list of astronomers who supported the Copernican view of the solar system.

Here is another example of a Yorkshire man who made a massive contribution to astronomy , yet is hardly know.

John Field died in 1587 and is buried at the church of St Michael’s with St Gabriel’s in East Ardsley near Wakefield. It is here that there is a plaque dedicated to John Field on the wall of the porch entrance of the church.

The plaque reads ‘Beneath this porch lies John Field 1520-1587 he was the first astronomer in this country to make known the discoveries of Copernicus’ 




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Thursday, 21 October 2021

The Milky Way, Watling Street and a Yorkshire Monk

 

Following the Norman invasion of Britain in 1066 there was a period during the next 200 years of a series of building not only building castles but also Abbeys and Monasteries. In Yorkshire alone there were over a dozen built, and these were built of stone and replaced the wooden Anglo Saxon structures. They did have one thing in common though; they had extensive libraries, which allowed them to become great places of learning, and as we all know knowledge is power.

One chronicler who we do know off and came from Yorkshire was Roger of Hoveden or Howden in the East Riding of |Yorkshire, we believe he dies around the year 1201, among the many things he did was around the year 1192 was to write a general history of England from the year 732.

He does make an interesting reference to the Milky Way, Roger says that the Anglo Saxon name was Waetlinga Straet or the paths of the Waetlings, these were giant sons of King Waetla who were the legendary founders of the path. It is possible that Waetla was one of the Saxon mythical heroes. However remember that if we are going back even further in time than the Saxons it would have been based on Celtic mythology.

 We all know that the Romans constructed Watling Street which ran from Kent to Shropshire for over two hundred and fifty miles. The Milky Way in the sky looks slightly curved, Watling Street is slightly curved, and could the Romans be using the Celtic/Saxon mythology and placing the Milky Way on the ground in England?

 It’s what a Yorkshire monk is suggesting!




Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Alcuin, Charlemagne, Constellations and York

 

One of the greatest Saxon scholars, Alcuin (735-804) was born in Northumbria possibly in York itself in 735 , he would go on to become one of the best sources of information during the latter part of the eighth century. The young Alcuin went to the cathedral church school of York during the golden age of Archbishop Ecgbert who had been a disciple of the Venerable Bede. Here Alcuin became a monk and teacher. Within the monastic world he was able to gain access to magnificent libraries, he wrote educational manuals and copied classical texts including those of the great scientists of Greece, it was here that Alcuin became aware of was astronomy.

Don’t forget monasteries were the centre of learning at this time.

In 781 when he was returning from a visit to Rome he met with the King of the Franks, better known as Charlemagne who would unite most of Western Europe the first time since the fall of the Roman Empire in the west, and apart from building a massive empire Charlemagne was also very interested in astronomy.

At the Charlemagne’s invitation, Alcuin joined the royal court in 781, and became one of the king’s chief advisers on religious and educational matters. Alcuin was made head of the palace school at Aachen, which was attended by members of the royal court and the sons of noble families, and he established a great library there.

Charlemagne was fascinated by the movements of the stars and studied them carefully with the help of Alcuin and it was probably this work that produced some wonderful images of the constellations the Leiden Aratea this were copies of images of the constellations that had been produced by the Greek poet Aratus 310 BCE- 240 BCE whose work described the constellations and other celestial phenomena. The images are based on 38 drawings.


Orion

Alcuin would have been aware of this work and possible encouraged Charlemagne to get them re produced, but he did not live to see the work completed dying on 19th May 804 CE. The constellations themselves were produced probably near Aachen around 816 CE and even Charlemagne never saw this work being completed as he died in 814 CE.

If it had not been for Alcuin setting up the great library at Aachen the wonderful Leiden Aratea constellations images would probably never have been reproduced and could possibly have been lost for ever.

One of the colleges at the University of York is named Alcuin College.


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