Astronomy Scrapbook was the title of the presentation given Mt Mr Brian Jones at the first society meeting of 2019. It was mixture of small unrelated astronomical subjects. That Mr Jones had collated together.
The title of the presentation came from American astronomer Joseph Ashbrooke. He received a doctorate from Harvard University in 1947 and taught at Yale University from 1946 to 1950, and at Harvard from 1950 to 1953. He started to work for the’ Sky and Telescope magazine in 1953, where he wrote the column “Astronomical Scrapbook” from 1954 to 1980, and remained on its staff until his death; he also edited the magazine from 1964 on wards.
First item from the scrapbook was the correct pronunciation of English Astronomer Edmond Halley surname. We all know that he discovered the 76 year cycle of the comet that bears his name. It would appear that the mispronunciation of his name has a lot to do with the birth of rock and roll music and Bill Haley. A contempory of Edmond Halley was the prolific write and diarist Samuel Pepys. Who records in his published works the correct phonetic spelling of Edmond Halley’s name.
The second item in the scrapbook was a quick over view of the NASA probes that had now left the solar system and where slowly moving through interstellar space.
Pioneer 10. Launched in 1972, flew past Jupiter in 1973 and is heading in the direction of Aldebaran (65 light years away) in the constellation of Taurus. Contact was lost in January 2003, and it is estimated to have passed 120 AU.
Pioneer11. Launched in 1973, flew past Jupiter in 1974 and Saturn in 1979. Contact was lost in November 1995, and it is estimated to be at around 100 AU. The spacecraft is headed toward the constellation of Aquila, northwest of the constellation of Sagittarius. Barring an incident, it will pass near one of the stars in the constellation in about 4 million years.
Voyager 2. Launched in August 1977, flew past Jupiter in 1979, Saturn in 1981,Uranus in 1986, and Neptune in 1989. The probe left the heliosphere and into interstellar space at 119 AU on 5th November 2018.Voyager 2 is still active. It is not headed toward any particular star, although in roughly 40,000 years it should pass 1.7 light-years from the star Ross 248. If undisturbed for 296,000 years, it should pass by the star Sirius at a distance of 4.3 light-years.
Voyager 1. launched in September 1977, flew past Jupiter in 1979 and Saturn in 1980, making a special close approach to Saturn’s moon Titan. The probe moved into interstellar space at 121 AU on 25th August 2012. It is still active. It is headed towards an encounter with star AC +79 3888, which lies 17.6 light-years from Earth, in about 40,000 years.
New Horizons. Launched in 2006, the probe flew past Jupiter in 2007 and Pluto on 14th July 2015. It flew past the Kuiperbelt object ‘Ultima Thule’ on January 1st 2019, as part of the Kuiper Belt Extended Mission (KEM).
Ticking his sense of humour Mr Jones discussed the pronunciation of the Planet Uranus. Before rounding his presentation off with strange coincidences. Did you know that Stephen Hawking’s birthday, the 8th January 1942, fell on the 300th anniversary of the death of of another great science mind, Galileo Galilei. But the day of his death, in the early hours of March 14, 2018 at his home in Cambridge, England, happened to coincide with the birthday of yet another genius; Albert Einstein, born 14th March 1879. There were several other such coincidences that Mr Jones touched upon in his montage of a presentation.