Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Scottish 5 inch rather than 6 inch Cooke Telescope


Linlithgowshire Gazette Friday 11th June 1909


We have now -arrived at what, about fifty years ago, was considered the cast end of the town. Links House and grounds were situated where now stands the Electricity Works and the house and shop property of Mr Joseph Duguid, joiner.

Links House dates back over 200 years. It was the first Post Office Bo’ness. The roof of the building was constructed of large unsewn trees, tapering away the top. Above the ceiling were large rooms well-floored, and in the cast gable there was a very small window looking down the Forth. In bygone days lights were set in this window as signals to boats carrying illicit trade, and the smuggled goods—-chiefly spirits—were stored tins upper secret chamber.

The house came into the possession of the late Mr Hughes, manufacturing chemist, about the year 1851. Within the grounds he erected an observatory, equipped with six-inch Cooke equatorial telescope, costing about- £l000. Here Mr Hughes spent not only his leisure hours, but many a whole night long, observing the heavens. Optics, astronomy, and mathematics had a great fascination for him, and he kept regularly in employment for about 30 years a thoroughly qualified astronomer, who was known as Mr Clark, the “Clark of the weather.

This Mr Clark was somewhat eccentric and peculiar in his way. He had been a student at Rugby of the eminent astronomer. Dr Pearson whose transit instrument, that gentleman’s demise, had been purchased by Hughes. This instrument was a very costly and delicate one. and the heat of the body affected it very considerably.

Meridian mark was set far away Culross, on the opposite side the Forth, long distance being desirable to reduce any error in adjustment. Mr Hughes prepared large volumes of MS, in connection with, this science, which daily occupied his attention for many years. These writings, however, were never published.

The telescope referred to was actually a 5 inch Cooke telescope not a 6 inch, it was an instrument of this size that was purchased from Thomas Cooke & Sons in 1865.

Monday, 27 June 2022

Saturn seen from Sydney with a Cooke


Ernest Wunderlich at the Wyone Observatory, Port Hacking which is about 14 miles south of Sydney observed the occultation of Saturn by the moon on March 14th 1917. The telescope used was a 4.5 inch Thomas Cooke & Sons telescope.

The sky was at the commencement of occultation was, owing to slight haze, rather more luminous than usual, and this caused the loss of the “inner edge of ring” and “first limb” of the ball at ingress. At egress the definition was all that could be desired, but the first edge of ring was decidedly outside the Moon’s illuminated edge before it was noticed, and thus was “lost”.

Sunday, 26 June 2022

A Cooke rather than Cooke & Sons Telescope in Australia


James Nangle at Marrickville in New South Wales using a 6.25 inch telescope which I have recently discovered was a Thomas Cooke rather that a Thomas Cooke and Sons telescope observed Mars in 1909.

He described the darkish areas to have a greenish tinge, with the Mars Cimmerium and Syrtis Major looking like the tops of trees in an Australian valley when seen from the top of a mountain. The northern snows were also well seen. There appeared none of the canals that had been drawn by Schiaparelli or Lowell.

On almost all occasions when a great increase in definition was required a screen of mosquito net was placed immediately in front of the object glass. Such a screen is evidently a good idea, since it slightly reduces the glare without interfering with the separating power, that vital point in all detailed planetary observations.

Saturday, 25 June 2022

P Eridanus observed in Australia with a Cooke


The star p Eridani (not rho) is one of the most interesting double stars in the southern hemisphere. It is a double stars that had been observed since 1826.

Two astronomers making observations up until 1908, Mr Nangle in Australia using a 6.5 inch telescope and Mr Hirst using a 4.5 inch telescope both made by Thomas Cooke & Sons of York, agree that the distance between the two components of p Eridani are getting closer.

Today we know that the system contains 2 K class main sequence stars orbiting each other every 475 years.

Friday, 24 June 2022

Two Cookes observe alpha Centauri from Australia


Alpha Centauri one of the leading double stars in the southern hemisphere was observed from Australia  by G D Hirst using his 4.25 inch Cooke telescope and James Nangle using his 6.25 inch Cooke telescope in  June and July 1906.

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Transit of Titan seen with a Cooke


On November 5th / 6th 1907 Mr A B Cobham and Mr G D Hirst in  Sydney, Australia using a 4.5 inch Thomas Cooke & Son telescope saw a dark spot on Saturn. This was afterwards ascertained to be Titan.

They also both commented that they caught glimpse of the edge of the ring at flashes, the impression indicating the extreme fineness and delicacy of the rings when seen edgewise.

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Partial solar eclipse using the 9 inch Newbegin Cooke


The partial solar eclipse of May 28th 1900 was observed using the G J Newbegin 9 inch Cooke telescope with a power of 75 by Mrs Newbegin and Rev T E R Phillips using the projection method. The image produced was 4.2 inches in diameter.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

W M Baxter, sunspots and a Cooke


W M Baxter used a 5 inch Cooke equatorial in Edinburgh to observe a series of occultations of stars during the partial eclipse of the Moon on the night of 16th-17th December 1899. He observed 10 stars before fog and cloud prevented further observations

Thursday, 16 June 2022

Sunspots seen by a vicar using a Cooke


In 1896 the Rev J H Jenkinson of St Mary’s vicarage Reading, Berks described a series of sunspot drawings he had made between February and August of that year. 

He used a 4.5 inch Thomas Cooke of York telescope.

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Jupiter seen from Australia with a Cooke


BAA Journal May 1896

I am glad to be able to report that observing conditions generally have been very good with us since the beginning of last month, and that at least one other member besides myself has taken advantage of the good seeing to make drawings of Jupiter. I am unfortunately divorced from my observatory for some months, but have with me in the country an excellent 5-in. Cooke altazimuth as well as accurate time.

I have never hitherto prosecuted a careful and continuous study of the giant planet's surface, and confess to great surprise at the vast and rapid changes that become apparent. This especially struck me first in the case of the N. equatorial belt, the northern and equatorial components of which exhibited alternately dark masses and condensations, divided by white spots after intervals of only five Jovian rotations. On March 13 and 14 there were typical instances of this.

On March 26, 20h 40m, G.M.T., a faint wisp across the equator, was conspicuous, and next night, March 28, 2h 20m G.M.T., was invisible, while the equatorial region near the c.m. showed considerable change. Definition excellent, 4 to 5 on both occasions, power 200. The N. temperate area, however, has puzzled me most, for the three belts often seen have varied much both in visibility and latitude, while with exquisite definition on April 1, at 0h 20m G.M.T., the following portion seemed overlaid with vapour of a sage green tint, and the belts (2) were only faintly visible in their preceding parts,

The Red Spot has been well seen on several occasions of almond shape, the f. end slightly more pointed than the p. Its tint seemed uniform, and a very delicate brick red, like a faint stain. It is overlaid on the S. side by the S. temperate belt, which is closely double through nearly its whole extent, and f. from the centre of the Red Spot is much darkened and sinuous. The great spot's preceding end was estimated on c.m. at 1h 15m G.M.T., April 1, and the following end on c.m. at 21h 52m 36s G.M.T. of same date. In the transit of Satellite I. on February 22, observed at Waverley, near Sydney, with my equatorial, the shadow must have been occulted by the satellite, which is perhaps worthy of note.


Sunday, 12 June 2022

M33 photographed by Isaac Roberts using a 5 inch Cooke


BAA Journal Vol 6 No 9 June 1896

NEBULAS.—In KN., p. 158, there is a photograph by Dr. Isaac Roberts of the region of the spiral nebula Messier 33 Trianguli. The centre of the plate is about R.A. 1h 2 8M , Dec. N. 30° 7', and the area of the sky covered is 8.1° from N. to S. and 6.1° from preceding to following, the nebula being in the centre.

The photograph was taken with the Cooke 5-in. lens on November 14, 1895, with exposure of the plate during 2 h 15m .

Saturday, 11 June 2022

Partial Lunar Eclipse of 1892 seen with a Cooke


The Partial Lunar Eclipse of May 11-12, 1892. By G. J. NEWBEGIN, F.R.A.S.

The night of May 11-12 turned out so exceptionally clear and fine that (though in 16 ° of Declination) the moon soon became a steady object in the telescope. With regard to the eclipse I decided to take a series of photographs at about half-hour intervals, and to endeavour to secure a permanent record of its several stages. The exposures were made at 9.20, 9.50, 10.30, 11, 11.30 p.m., 12 o'clock midnight, and 12.30 a.m. The periods of exposure were varied, to allow for the decreasing illumination of the moon, viz. :— 20s 20s 30s 40s 30s 20s 20s respectively.

The plates were the Ilford ordinary, developed by hydroquinone. The instrument by which they were taken is a 9-inch Cooke equatorial, aperture reduced to 2-inch for the whole series. The intervals between the exposures were occupied in developing the plates.

Thorpe, Norwich, Nov. 11, 1892.

Friday, 10 June 2022

New Observatory in Catania housing a Cooke

 This new observatory in Catania in Sicily which was completed in 1890 is principally for astrophysics, celestial photography, meteorology and seismology.

 There is a 6-inch Cooke telescope fitted with photographic apparatus; Huggins's apparatus for photographing the solar corona; Mascart's apparatus for photographing atmospherical electricity, &c.

Thursday, 9 June 2022

A New Clinometer from Thomas Cooke & Sons, York


York Herald Saturday 25th November 1865

A New Clinometer

We (Bombay Builder) have had the pleasure of seeing a most compact and useful clinometer and manufactured by Messrs T Cooke & Sons London and York. We understand the government intends to issue them to the public works department; and we have every reason to believe that the instrument will be generally made use of by the railway and other professional men for trial work.

A gentleman who has used the instrument says, “It is impossible to over rate the advantage of this instrument, A trial path, which would have required weeks to set out by chain and level as it would have been necessary to cut down the jungle and make platforms for the instrument to stand on, was marked out in a few days and with quite as much accuracy.

The only mistakes that can arise are from the accidental slipping of one of the cross pieces , or from moving one of the radial arms of the instrument. It is only requisite to take a glance at the face of the instrument while the hand rests upon the cr0ss piece, to ensure its accuracy. The ease and quickness with which the instrument was used made the marking out of the trail path a pleasure to the observer, who would feel like Pegasus deprived of his wings if he had to do another under similar circumstances with level and chain instead of clinometer.

Monday, 6 June 2022

A Cooke for sale in India


Civil and Military Gazette (Lahore) Saturday 3rd January 1891

For sale Owner leaving India

An equatorial telescope of 6 inches aperture by T Cooke & Sons, York driven by clockwork, with stellar and solar eyepieces.

Also the revolving roof or dome (16 feet diameter) of sheet zinc on teak framing, covering the telescope.

H B Hederstedt, late Chief Engineer of the Oude and Rohilkund Railway, Lucknow

The Sun, Argentina and a Cooke


For the year 1908, a fine set of drawings had been sent by Mr Barnett of Rosario, Argentina made with his 4 inch Cooke & Sons telescope of the Sun. 

A close examination of the Stoneyhurst drawings shows an almost exact agreement in the sun spot groups delineated.

Monday, 30 May 2022

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 and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.

The Walter Goodacre 10 inch Cooke


In the journal of the British Astronomical Society from May 1938 there was an advertisement for a 10 inch Thomas Cooke telescope offered by the executers of the late Walter Goodacre FRAS: together with an  observatory with a 20 foot dome by Reid of Manchester. 

Price £500 or would sell telescope separately. There is also a sidereal clock by Home, Thornthwaite & Wood.

Saturday, 28 May 2022

1860 Lunar occultation of Jupiter seen from Manchester


I have come across a report from Saturday May 26th 1860 of an occultation of Jupiter by the Moon observed from Manchester.

The occultation began at 4.34 pm and I quote “ Jupiter should have appeared at 6.13 pm but had not, this could be due to superfluous light above and below. By 7.00 pm I could distinguish Jupiter easily. I observed Jupiter until 8.00 pm when it became cloudy”.

A F Goddard,

Bury New Road, Manchester

Friday, 27 May 2022

758 Mancuria


On May 18th 1912 Harry Edwin Wood who was chief assistant at the Union Observatory in South Africa discovered an asteroid, it was named Mancuria after the city in which he was born, Manchester. He would discover 12 asteroids between 1911-1932.

Mancuria is the Latin name for Manchester

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Rev. Howlett and a Cooke telescope mounting


The Rev Frederick Howlett FRAS (1821-1908) purchased in 1865 a plain equatorial mounting from Thomas Cooke & Sons, it was made to carry either a 4 or 5 inch telescope. At the time that the mounting was ordered he was living at the St Augustone’s Parsonage , Hurst Green , Sussex.

Howlett used a 3 inch Dollond telescope, I am not sure when he purchased this telescope but it was before 1863. During the 1860s-1880s he used this small telescope to make extensive observations of sunspots.

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Scriven Bolton and the Japan British Exhibition of 1910


Scriven Bolton 1883-1929 is a Yorkshire astronomer whose life and work is hardly known yet his contributions in particular in the field of astronomical illustrations were incredible and his work almost certainly influenced the famous American space scientist Chesley Bonestell.

Bolton was honoured with the award of the Gold Medal at the Franco British exhibition in 1908 and in 1910 was presented with a diploma at the Japan British exhibition. In 1924 he was elected as a fellow of the royal society of arts.

Born in 1883 Thomas Simeon Scriven Bolton he inherited his mother’s maiden surname and was always known as Scriven. His father was a mill owner from Yeadon near Leeds. At the time of his birth the woollen textile business was thriving. A small recession in the early 1890 meant that his father took a aprt share in a mineral oil merchanting business, and the family moved to Waterloo Lodge an out of town villa in Bramley Leeds. Scriven followed his father into the business and it was a t Waterloo Lodge that he would build his large observatory housing his 26 inch reflector.

Scriven must have had an interest in astronomy from a young age because in 1899 at the age of 16 he joined the Leeds Astronomical Society. By 1906 his skills of drawing were such that he was sending drawings of the planet Jupiter to the astronomer royal William Christie. It was around this time that his work attracted attention from within the commercial world. He was soon sending astronomical drawings to the Illustrated London News, The New York Times, popular Science Monthly, the Sphere, The Graphic, Science and Invention, National Geographic and the Yorkshire Post. Plus numerous contributions to the English Mechanic. He drawings also appeared in the journals of the British Astronomical Association , The Royal astronomical society of which he was a fellow and of course Leeds AAS.

There is no definite list of the various publishing houses and authors who used his work, but the ones we know of include Chambers’s Astronomy, Hutchinsons Splendour of the Heavens and HH turner’s A Voyage in Space.

His drawings include those of the Earth and other bodies in the solar system, Bolton’s work clearly influenced Chesley Bonestell the legendary American space artist. Bonestell copied Bolton’s idea of making a 3 d plaster model and then photograph the models as a basis for their illustrations. This is the early 20th century version of CGI.

With his observations of the sky he made an observatory the so called Waterloo Observatory which housed his 26 inch reflector together wit a 10 inch reflector and a 6 inch 1908 the University made available its new Cecil Duncombe observatory on Woodhouse Moor, Florence Taylor the Yorkshire astronomer had donated £100 to the building of the observatory. Scriven Bolton was only one of two members of Leeds AS who were allowed time on the 18 inch telescope. Scriven’s home was within easy walking distance of this observatory.

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Josepeh Baxendell and the Blaze Star


The Manchester based astronomer Joseph Baxendell (1815-1887) who was a prolific observer of variable stars discovered one of the most famous nova, T Corona Borealis or as it became known as the ‘Blaze Star’.

I should mention that the star was also observed by the Iris astronomer John Birmingham.

On May 12th 1866 he saw the star at magnitude 2.0, nova were not new, they had been observed by astronomers before, this star was followed until it faded from view. However what made this star so famous was that it went nova again on February 9th 1946. Although other stars had been observed to go through the nova process more than once, T Corona Borealis was by far the brightest, hence it’s name the ‘Blaze Star’.

Astronomers watching the star today wonder when it will next blaze forth and become a nova for a third time.

Monday, 23 May 2022

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 and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.

Venus observed from Manchester in 1871


Mr Henry Ormesher of Manchester has frequently observed the planet Venus during the last few months. He has on several occasions succeeded in detecting the dark markings. 

He says - ‘May 10th 1871  the markings were clear and well defined and remind me very much of the planet Mars, having much the same appearance’. On May 21st and May 29th he also saw dusky markings on the planet’s surface with his 5.25 inch refractor.

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Cooke sees Halley's Comet in 1910

Between April 11th and June 3rd 1910 Halley's comet was observed and photographed from the Transvaal Government Observatory in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

The photographs were taken using the 10 inch Cooke telescope that had originally been made for John Franklin Adams who made a full sky survey between 1904-1908 using a number  of Cooke telescopes and Cooke cameras. 

Saturday, 21 May 2022

An expensive 10 inch Cooke


Yorkshire Gazette Saturday 7th May 1881

York Exhibition

In the space intervening between the central and Great Halls, a large equatorial mounted telescope which stands 15 feet high is exhibited by Messrs T Cooke & Sons York opticians, the instrument which is an object of curiosity with an object glass of 10 inches.

The sale price is £1200 (my note; today that telescope would cosy nearly £150,000)

Friday, 20 May 2022

Liverpool's Lost Synchrocyclotron


I came across this today and I never knew about this.

Taken from the May 2022 issue of Physics World.

Liverpool’s lost synchrocyclotron

In 1951, Liverpool, UK, was still marked by bomb damage from the Second World War. Nevertheless, led by Nobel-prizewinning physicist James Chadwick, the city’s university managed to construct a world-leading synchrocyclotron. Built into the Earth underneath the crypt of the city’s partially built cathedral, it was the first of its type that allowed the beam of accelerated particles to be directed at an outside target. By 1968, it was supplanted by machines at CERN in Geneva, and no trace of it remains.

A 15 inch Cooke for Brussels


Yorkshire Gazette Saturday 15th May 1880

A York Telescope for Brussels Observatory

Messrs T Cooke & Sons, opticians of this city, had the honour some time ago of receiving an order from the Belgium Government for an equatorial mounting for a telescope with an object glass of 15 inches diameter, which is to be placed in the Royal Observatory Brussels.

The work has just been completed, and the instrument presents a fine specimen of mechanical art and skill. The tube about 21 feet in length, and the stand 13 feet high. The instrument is fitted with all the latest appliances, including clockwork of very delicate construction by which the telescope caused to follow the movement of the star on which it is fixed. The firm expect to pack and forward the instrument towards the end of the month.

York Herald Saturday 15th May 1880

The telescope for the Belgium Government may be inspected by those whose who are interested.

Thursday, 19 May 2022

T Cooke & Sons and the Telephone


A Grand Military Concerts will be given the De Grey Rooms , York  on Monday 13th May 1878 in aid for the funds providing a clock with Westminster chimes and bells for the church of Holy Trinity, Heworth, York.

Messrs T Cooke and Sons will be exhibiting the Telephone during the interval of 15 minutes.

Messrs T Cooke and Sons, York will exhibit and give illustrations of the TELEPHONE and if possible they will also exhibit the latest wonder THE PHONOGRAPH

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

A lift from Cookes


York Herald Wednesday 23rd December 1874

York City and County Bank

The spacious new and enlarged bank offices in Parliament Street, York which have been in progress of erection during the last eighteen months, for the use of this company, will be opened to the public for business on Monday morning next. The present bank was erected in 1835.

Below there is ample strong room accommodation which is connected to the bank by means of ingenious hydraulic lifts, provided by Messrs T Cooke and Sons.

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Darlington Clock repaired by Cooke & Sons


York Herald Saturday 3rd July 1869

It was decided by Darlington Town Council to place the repair and cleaning of the town clock in the hands of Messrs Cooke and sons of York.

Monday, 16 May 2022

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 and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.

A Cooke in Canada


Dr J C Donaldson of Fergus, Ontario, Canada using a 3.5 inch Thomas Cooke telescope obtained a glimpse of the 9th magnitude star in Cancer just before it was occulted by Jupiter on May 22nd 1896.

Several other observers had attempted to watch the occultation in Canada many with much larger telescopes but were unsuccessful.

Saturday, 14 May 2022

A Cooke for Greenwich


London Daily News Thursday 8th March 1888

An Addition to Greenwich Observatory.

FLAMSTEED’S famous institution on Greenwich Hill has been crowned with another dome. Nine or ten years ago Professor GREENE of the Polytechnic Institute at Troy, desiring to construct a dome on a somewhat larger scale than usual, found that the heavy metal roof ordinarily set up would require a more substantial structure than he co could conveniently provide, and that powerful of machinery would be necessary for making it revolve. He determined to try what could be re done with papier mache. The experiment was a complete success. His dome proved as strong as though constructed of wood and iron, and so light that it could be turned without machinery of any kind.

Greenwich shortly after had occasion to construct, a dome, and very wisely adopted the new material. The one just now completed is the second constructed during Mr. CHRISTIE'S regime. It is eighteen feet in diameter, and is designed for the Cooke 6-inch equatorial telescope, with a photo-heliograph tube attached to the same mount. This combined instrument is to be carried on a huge as block of stone weighing 3 tons, and will stand at a sufficient elevation above the other buildings and the surrounding trees to command a complete view of the sun throughout in the day.

This is what Greenwich has been unable to do hitherto, and in his last report to the Board of Visitors the ASTRONOMER ROYAL draws attention to the difficulty under which the work of the photo-heliograph has been n carried on in past years owing to the want of such an observatory as he has now succeeded in setting up, though as yet unfortunately the funds for the complete equipment of the new al building are not forthcoming. It has been hinted, by those who certainly are in a position to be well informed, that unless somewhat greater liberality be extended to the Observatory it may become necessary to discontinue the time signals, upon which the country has come to rely almost as implicitly as on the rising and setting of the sun.

It would certainly be a novel sensation for the public to find their supply of Greenwich time cut off, after the manner of the water companies when they cannot get their money. This is certainly rather a formidable screw Mr. CHRISTIE has at command, though it is to be hoped he may not have occasion to apply it to the Treasury. There is no doubt, however, that to stint funds at Greenwich Observatory is very poor policy. Its practical utility in all sorts of ways is simply incalculable.

We may add to what has been stated about the new building, that it is here that Greenwich will take its a share in the projected complete photographic map of the starry heavens.

Friday, 13 May 2022

A Cooke for sale in Liverpool


Pall Mall Gazette Friday 2nd January 1885


To be SOLD, a bargain, on account of the owner's eyesight, an excellent Equatorial-mounted TELESCOPE by Cooke, 4.5 inch diam.; Dawe's solar and numerous other eyepieces, micrometer, induction coil and battery, automatic and star spectroscopes, spark condenser, clock by Cooke, barometer 7-10 diam., observing chair, complete sets of the memoirs and monthly notice's of the R.A.S., Astronomical Register and Observatory, with indexes, and a number of other astronautical works, all in the best possible condition. The above presents a very rate opportunity to astronomical students

Address "Telescope," care of Lee and Nightingale, Advertising Agents, Liverpool.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Comet of 1882 seen with a Cooke


Preston Chronicle Saturday 20th May 1882

The Comet -We learn that a distinct and brilliant view of the latest addition to the solar system the new comet, bas been obtained by the Rev. .James Pearson, M.A, vicar of Fleetwood, by the aid of his four-inch equatorial (Cooke), from positions given in the Dunecht Ephemeris for May 10th. The tail was sufficiently long to traverse the field of the instrument, but it is still only visible in a telescope like that named.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

A Cooke at an auction


London Evening Standard Wednesday 3rd May 1882

MESSRS. SOTHEBY, WILKINSON,& HODGE will SELL by AUCTION, at their House, No. 13, Wellington Street Strand W.C. on Thursday May 25th the SILVER PLATE (above 1,000 ounces) and articles of Virtu, collected by the late John Fitchett Marsh esq, comprising plated ware, oriental, wedge wood and other china. Shakespeare relics some important bronzes, marble busts, marqueteric cabinets a large and beautiful portable equatorial telescope by Cooke and Sons, 2 microscopes, one a very fine ‘binocular’ by Smith and Beck fire screens etc.

John Fitchett Marsh Esq formerly of Fairfield House Warrington and late of Hardwick House Chepstow

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Probable Cooke in Sunderland


The Sunderland Scientific and Industrial exhibition will be held at the Skating Rink Hudson Road in February 1882 and included Mr John G Allison of the Old Rectory Monkwearmouth, who exhibited a portable telescope which will be found worthy of our astronomical students.

The object glass in 4 inches in diameter and 5 feet focal length withy polished brass tube and finder attached. It has 4 eyepieces powers from 80 to 300 and is fixed on a strong polished walnut tripod stand.

I believe this the telescope purchased by John G Allison in 1866 from Thomas Cooke and Sons when Mr Allison was living at 12 Cumberland Row Newcastle.

Monday, 9 May 2022

A Cooke for sale in Liverpool

 In 1875 the Liverpool Daily Post advertised a Second hand astronomical telescope for sale by the late Mr Cooke of York- G S Wood (late Abraham & Co) Opticians 20 Lord Street Liverpool.

I don't know if there was a connection with this advert but in 1864 Abraham & Co had ordered a plain equatorial mounting on tripod for a 4.5 inch tube. 

Saturday, 7 May 2022

A Cooke for sale in Leeds


This was seen in the Leeds Mercury Thursday 13th March 1879. A Splendid Telescope for Sale by Cooke of York, object glass 4.5 inches diameter; equatorial bearings, micrometer &c, in large circular house with moveable top. Apply Anthony Robinson 27 Upperhead- row, Leeds

Thursday, 5 May 2022

A Cooke in Glasgow


John Dansken who was born in Glasgow in 1836 was by profession a surveyor and an enthusiastic amateur astronomer who built an observatory at his home in Patrickhill, Glasgow which included a 5 inch telescope by Thomas Cooke of York, there was also a larger 13 inch reflector made by D Hunter of Lanark. 

He also had one of the finest astronomical libraries in the West of Scotland.

John Dansken died in 1905.

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

The Cooke at the Coats Observatory


At the 1880 Annual meeting of the Paisley Philosophical Institution, it was proposed that the society should purchase an astronomical telescope. Mr Thomas Coats of Ferguslie, then a member of the council with advice from Professor Grant at Glasgow University a 5 inch telescope by Cooke of York was obtained.

Mr Coats provided an observatory with a sum of £2,000. This Coats Observatory would become the oldest public observatory in Scotland. On the 10th September 1883 the observatory was opened to members of the philosophical society and was then opened to the public from Monday 1st October 1883.

Mr Donald McLean one of Professor Grant’s assistants was appointed first curator. Between 1892-1898 additional equipment including a 10 inch telescope by Grubb of Dublin would be added.

The Cooke telescope would be used throughout the 19th and 20th century in order to promote astronomy. In 1963 the running of the observatory passed from the Paisley Philosophical Society to that of the town council. This placed the observatory under the museum and galleries committee.

At present the Coats observatory is closed and us due to reopen in 2023.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

A star missed by Flamsteed in Cancer


Roughly half way between the stars beta cancer magnitude 3.5 and delta hydra magnitude 4.2 is an unmarked star on star atlas 2000. Another one that was not listed by Flamsteed.

This star turns out to be HD 71115 a mag 5.1 star which is listed in sky catalogue 2000. Its a double star. Depending which double star catalogue you look at the two components stars are of

mags 5.1 and 9.2 in catalogue 2000

mags5.2 and 10.0 in Washington Double Star Catalogue

mags 5.5 and 9.5 in Burnhams

Its amazing just how many bright easy to see naked eye stars just have not been noted by Flamsteed.

Monday, 2 May 2022

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 and the show can be heard later on the Drystone Radio Podcast.

A Confusing Flamsteed situation in Canis Minor


I have come across a Flamsteed numbered star problem in Canis Minor. Next  to the star Fl14 CMi which is a magnitude 5.3 K0 III type star, is a sgtar which is not labelled on star atlas 2000, it is in fact HD 66141 or G CMi which is a magnitude 4.4 K2 III star, this is a magnitude brighter yet not catalogued by Flamsteed.

On Atlas 2000 there is no reference number to this star so I was surprised when I came across the fact that the star was also designated as G CMi. 

This is the Gould System a system similar to the Flamsteed system that was introduced by Benjamin Gould when he published his Uranometria Argentina in 1879. On the Gould system this star would be catalogued as 50 G Canis Minoris.

If this is not confusing enough this star some how managed to get the designation of Fl13 Puppis. It then subsequently got a free transfer to Canis Minor.

It is all very confusing!!