Sunday 20 March 2022

A Cooke finds a moon of Jupiter in the wrong place


The Rev RJ Gould (1802-1880) Windsor Lodge Taunton, Somerset purchased a 5 inch telescope from Thomas Cooke & Sons in 1864, complete with an iron pillar for an observatory.

Soon after he purchased the telescope he became vicar at Mortimer Vicarage, Reading where he would spend the rest of his life.

While using the 5 inch telescope and he was observing Jupiter on October 7th1868 at 11h and 43 mins when he noticed an error in the Nautical Almanac on page 480.

It stated that the 3rd satellite will be on the west side of its primary in company with the 2nd and 4th; The fact was that it was on the east side with satellite number 1. The places of 2 and 4 were right enough but number 3 was certainly not so.

Gould goes on to say that we have no right to expect even the Nautical almanac to be absolutely free from errors and misprints, but I should like to know whether others have observed this or whether it can be shown to have been a mistake on the part of myself.

During the following days several observers confirmed Gould’s observations that the satellite was in the wrong place.

Following his death in 1880 the Cooke 5 inch telescope together with an observatory was offered for sale. I don’t know if this was a Cooke observatory or a home made one.

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