astronomy Newsletter


August 13 2014 Astronomy Newsletter

Hi everybody

Here's the latest article from the Astronomy site at

John Herschel – Facts for Kids
It can be hard to be the son of a famous man. Although his father was the first person in history to discover a planet, John Herschel had his own illustrious career. He was not only an astronomer, but also a brilliant mathematician, a talented artist, musician and poet, and a loving family man.

This is a companion piece to:
Herschel Partnership – Facts for Kid
The Herschels were the greatest astronomical family of all time. A partnership of two brothers and a sister built the best telescopes of their time, and with those telescopes mapped the deep sky. They changed the way astronomers understood the heavens.

There will be an article on the third generation of Herschels later in the year.

*Birth anniversaries – August 19*

(1) In 1646 John Flamsteed was born. He was the first Astronomer Royal of England and oversaw the equipping of the Royal Greenwich Observatory. Although the King financed the building of the observatory and a house for the astronomer, the funding didn't extend to buying equipment. Flamsteed ending up buying his own telescopes and paying his assistant. When he died his wife took with her every single thing that they had bought. (If they'd had electricity in those days, I could imagine her removing the light bulbs.)

(2) In 1891 Milton Humason was born. He was an excellent observer at Mt Wilson in California and much of his work supported the ideas that Edwin Hubble had. (Not that Hubble was big on sharing the credit.) He had a distinguished career as an astronomer, even though he'd left school at 14. He was a mule driver when Mt Wilson Observatory was being built, and later a night assistant. Although Humason had no higher education, he was promoted by George Ellery Hale who recognized his intelligence and ability.

*Perseids 2014*

The Perseids are still still on. If you get a clear sky, go out and have a look when it's dark. The full Moon has been cutting down the number of observed meteors, but not completely obscuring them. Artificial light pollution and cloudy skies has been my problem. What about you?

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I wish you clear skies.

Mona Evans, Astronomy Editor

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