April 17 2014 Astronomy Newsletter
Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at BellaOnline.com.
Father Hell - Astronomer
The Moon's Hell crater sounds like the last place a space tourist would ever want to visit. But it's named for 18th century astronomer Father Maximilian Hell, director of the Vienna Observatory. He observed the 1769 Venus transit from Norway's far north, surviving the cold by adopting Sami dress.
Here is a well-known portrait of Maximilian Hell: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/250090585532325383/ You wouldn't immediately spot him as a Jesuit priest. He's dressed in Sami costume of the time. Besides his interest in local culture, he would have realized that in the far north of Norway local dress made sense.
The observatory that Hell and Sajnovics built in Vardo is long gone. The town hall is on the site now. There are no less than *three* plaques there. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/250090585532325405/ The Austrians, Hungarians and Slovakians all claim Hell as a national hero, and the 1769 transit was a big deal in the history of Vardo. Amazingly, the Austrians haven't got in on the act with a fourth plaque. Hell considered himself Hungarian, but he spent most of his life in Austria. Slovakia didn't even exist then.
*Happy birthday, Christiaan Huygens*
Christiaan Huygens, was born on April 14, 1629. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/250090585531819210/ He was a Dutch astronomer, mathematician, diplomat, and inventor of an accurate pendulum clock. One of the discoveries he made through his homemade telescope was Saturn's moon Titan. The European Space Agency named their Titan lander for him. It was taken to the Saturnian system by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art182860.asp.
Somewhat belated greetings for the beginning of Passover, and Happy Easter to those who are celebrating them.
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Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor
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