Wednesday, 14 April 2021

A Cooke in Sunderland sees the Martian Moons


A Cooke in Sunderland sees the Martian Moons

On December 22nd 1881 John Watson of Sunderland (more accurately Seaham Harbour, which is about 5 miles south of Sunderland) reported seeing two small points of light near Mars using a Thomas Cooke & Sons 12inch refractor. The positions of the moons were determined by using the ephemeris of Mars is indicated where the two satellite should be.

Thomas Cooke & Sons 12 inch telescope

I have little more information regarding either this 12 inch telescope or observations made by it. Although it is mentioned in G F Chambers Handbook of Descriptive and Practical Astronomy vol. 2 Oxford 1890 page 297.

Watson had an 8 inch Wray telescope mounted on a metal pillar supplied by Thomas Cooke which he offered for sale in 1880 presumably to make room for the 12 inch Cooke.

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