Wednesday 24 March 2021

Edward Pigott discovers the Black Eye Galaxy


Edward Pigott discovers the Black Eye Galaxy

Edward Pigott together with John Goodricke would become what I called the ‘Fathers of Variable Star Astronomy’ because of the work they would do fr a brief moment in time between 1781-1786 in York on the subject of variable stars.

However Edward Pigott had already made significant contributions to astronomy before he arrived in York

On March 23, 1779, from Frampton House in Glamorganshire Edward Pigott discovered a "nebula" in the constellation of Coma Berenices. Many references suggest that it was the German astronomer Johann Bode who discovered . However Pigott made the discovery 12 days before that by Bode.

The following year 1780, the French Comet hunter Charles Messier saw this object, he found around a dozen comets none that were particularly important. He did however discover many nebulous objects which he were not comets. He drew up a list of these objects so as to not get confused with real comets. And although most of his comets are forgotten his list of non comet objects, his Messier list is still used by astronomies today.

M64 The Black Eye Galaxy

Pigott’s nebula is number 64 or M64 in the Messier list, it is a galaxy around 17 million light years away, and is often called the ‘Black Eye Galaxy’ due to the vast amount of dust that blacks out the centre of the galaxy.

No comments:

Post a Comment