August 18 2010 Astronomy Newsletter
Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at BellaOnline.com.
One of the greatest astronomers of all time was a Danish nobleman with a metal nose, who was also a publisher, an alchemist and the Imperial Mathematician. His astronomical observations were the key to the modern view of the Solar System.
(1) Reports on Perseids sightings say that they were good where people had clear skies. I didn't have clear skies, so can't comment. Whether you did or didn't see any meteors, why not tell us about it on the Astronomy Forum?
-Venus is still beautiful at sunset. It's so bright that it's no wonder that it causes so many UFO reports.
-Mars and Saturn are still near Venus, but they're dim - if you're in the UK or at a similar latitude, you'll probably need binoculars to find them.
-Jupiter has been quite bright for awhile, but only for real night owls! It's now rising in the east around 10.30, so you'll have a better chance of seeing it.
French astronomer Pierre-Jules-Cesar Janssen was observing the solar eclipse of August 18, 1868 when he saw a spectral line in the Sun's spectrum which he had never seen before. English astronomer Norman Lockyer later confirmed it. Working with chemist Edward Frankland, he concluded that it was unknown element. They called it helium after the Greek word for sun. More than a quarter of a century passed before helium was found on Earth.
On August 19, 1646 John Flamsteed was born. He was the first Astronomer Royal of England and his star atlas Atlas Coelestis was the most comprehensive and authoritative one of its time. In 1798 Caroline Herschel published an index and a set of corrections to the atlas, which made it an even more useful tool for astronomers.
That's all for this week. Wishing you clear skies.
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