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Chapter 8

Chapter 8.docx

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Department
Natural Science
Course Code
NATS 1745
Professor
Robin Metcalfe

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Chapter 8: Planet Hunters Textbook Notes William Herschel; German musical teacher, composer and astronomer Summary: Discovered Uranus in 1781  Born in 1738 in Germany  Musical accomplishments: i) His father, Issac taught him the violin and the oboe ii) William took up oboe in the regimental band, left for England iii) He became a professional musician, ending up as an organist and composer in Halifax, and later at the Octagon Chapel in Bath where he settled with his sister Caroline Hershel (Their house at 19 New King Street, has been restored as a museum called ‘Hershel House’) iv) After a fight with Thomas Liley – music director of Music, Herchel won, drove Liley out of town and became the Director of Music v) Organized concerts all over Bath  Their house at 19 New King Street, has been restored as a museum called ‘Hershel House’  Classic book of Harmony was by Dr. Robert Smith  Doubled the size of the solar system in 1781  Astronomy accomplishments: i) The love of astronomy was instilled by his father ii) He later went on to build a reflecting telescope (he couldn’t afford to buy one) iii) His obsession was mapping the sky and attempting to measure distances to the stars iv) His theory was that if he could find two stars almost in line, the nearer one should appear to move lightly as the Earth travels around the sun v) In 1781, he found a new ‘star’ in Gemini vi) He noted in his journal “a curious either Nebulous Star or perhaps a comet” vii) Astronomy Royal’s Nevil Maskelyne, was already speculating it could be a planet viii)Sure enough, it was a new planet ix) He had discovered a new world in the solar system, a world 4 times the size of Earth and 15 times heavier x) In 1787, Herschel later went on the discover two of the planets largest moons. It has 22.  Naming the new planet i) Herschel wanted to name the planet in honor of King George III ii) However he was overruled, and George later became ‘Uranus’ iii) Uranus – a primeval Greek God representing the sky, son and later husband of Gaia, the Earth  Later in life i) Herschel was later called to Windsor by George III, to serve as the King’s private astronomer ii) He was set up in a house with his sister in Slough iii) People began to flock to meet the accomplished astronomer iv) Later began building telescopes v) His greatest was “Forty Foot” vi) He then married Mary Pitt His goal in life was to make a complete survey of the heavens and to discover the architecture of the comets  Joseph Haydn, renowned composer i) Traveled to Slough to meet Herschel and look through his telescopes ii) He was apparently so astounded, it inspired him to write The Creation  Caroline Herschel, sister of William and accomplished astronomer in her own right i) After her brother got married to Mary, she destroyed all of her journals ii) 16 years she assisted and cared for her brother, hand fed him as he made his monstrous mirrors iii) She went on to discover eight comets as well as nebulas and galaxies iv) In 1828, she was awarded The Royal Astronomical Society’s prestigious gold metal v) The Society didn’t give a woman another award until 1996 Johannes Kepler, the first person to predict there could be more planets in 1596  He wrote “between Jupiter and Mars, I would put a planet”  To him, it was obvious that there was a yawning gap between Jupiter and Mars Johann Daniel Titius, German mathematician Summary: Created the formula Titius-Bode Law  Derived a formula to describe the planets distances from the sun  His formula was taken by Johann Bode, prolific astronomer who was the director of the Berlin Observatory  Titius-Bode Law (unfairly known now as Bode’s law) is simple:  Distance from the earth to the sun is 10 units, then the six known planets had distances of approximately 4,7,10,15,52  The gap between 15 and 52 was noticeably large. There should be a world at about 28 units.  Herschel made his discovery of Uranus, a name Bode proposed, which turned out to be 192 units from the sun. It was chillingly close to Bode’s prediction of 196  The obviousness that there is a planet in between Mars and Jupiter became more embarrassing  Bode dubbed themselves, The Celestial Police and they went on a mission for the missing world Guiseppe Piazzi, an Italian astronomer working in Sicily Summary: Discovered ‘Ceres’  In 1801, Piazzi came across a rapidly moving ‘star’ at exactly the right distance (28) from the sun  Piazzi named the new world ‘Ceres’ after the patron goddess of Sicily  William Herschel, was not impressed  He coined the term ‘asteroid’ as an insult for his discovery and looked down on him  The discovery was so small, it appeared to be a star, that’s what asteroid means. (it was a third the size of the moon)  However the tradition of naming objects after ancient heroes continued with Pallas, Vesta and Juno John Couch Adams, a young mathematician at Cambridge Summary: Theoretically found a new planet  He set out to calculate where the missing planet might lie  In 1843, he knew where the planet would be found  He informed James Challis, a Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge  Challis did give John an introduction to the Astronomy Royal, George Airy  George Airy was arrogant and dismissed them  Airy didn’t believe you could discover unknown bodies from the position of known ones  Adam’s had discovered the location of the planet theoretically howev
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