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Dr Martin Hendry Dept of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow Captain Cook and the Cosmic Yardstick.

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Presentation on theme: "Dr Martin Hendry Dept of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow Captain Cook and the Cosmic Yardstick."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Dr Martin Hendry Dept of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow Captain Cook and the Cosmic Yardstick

3 James Cook (1728 – 1779)

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13 Retrograde motion of Mars

14 Early Greek Astronomy The Greeks inherited ideas from Babylonia and Egypt, but approached astronomy in a scientific way Plato (428 – 347 BC): reality a distorted shadow of a Perfect Form. Circle = most perfect form in nature All celestial motions are combinations of circular motions

15 Aristotle (384 – 322 BC): Universe divided into two parts: Corrupt, changeable Earth Perfect, immutable heavens Early Greek Astronomy The Greeks inherited ideas from Babylonia and Egypt, but approached astronomy in a scientific way

16 Ptolemy: 90 – 168 AD Ptolemy proposed a model which could explain planetary motions – including retrograde loops

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21 John of Holywood (c. 1200) Author of The Sphere, standard textbook on spherical trigonometry

22 Nicolaus Copernicus (1473 – 1543) In the true centre of everything resides the Sun De Revolutionibus Orbis (1543) The Copernican Revolution

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24 Simpler explanation why Venus and Mercury appear close to the Sun

25 Tycho Brahe ( ) Uraniborg observatory Hven, between Denmark and Sweden

26 Uraniborg observatory Hven, between Denmark and Sweden Tycho Brahe ( )

27 Tycho Brahe ( )

28 Johannes Kepler ( ) Mysterium Cosmographicum published in 1596

29 Johannes Kepler ( ) New Astronomy published in 1609

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31 The Spectacle Vendor by Johannes Stradanus, 1582

32 Hans Lippersheys 1608 patent of a device for "seeing faraway things as though nearby." Portas sketch of a telescope, August 1609

33 Galileo Galilei: (1564 – 1642) The Observations of Galileo

34 Autumn/Winter 1609, observed: Craters of the Moon Moons of Jupiter Phases of Venus Published in 1610 Sidereus Nuncius (The Starry Messenger) In conflict with Aristotelian / Ptolemaic Universe The Observations of Galileo Galileo Galilei: (1564 – 1642)

35 The Moon is an imperfect world with mountains and valleys, just like the Earth The Observations of Galileo

36 Moons of Jupiter: supported idea of Earth moving through space, contradicted Aristotelian view of all motions around Earth The Observations of Galileo

37 Earlier observed phases of Venus

38 Geocentric model Sun The Observations of Galileo Earlier observed phases of Venus

39 Geocentric modelHeliocentric model Sun The Observations of Galileo Earlier observed phases of Venus

40 The Observations of Galileo Phases of Venus impossible to explain in geocentric model Clear evidence that the Earth went round the Sun, and not the other way round Cynthiae figuras aemulatur mater amorum

41 Getting the Measure of the Solar System In the Heliocentric model it was easy to determine the relative distances of the planets, using the geometry and trigonometry of the Greeks…

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47 Earth Sun Venus We can use Pythagoras theorem!!

48 Getting the Measure of the Solar System PlanetDistance Mercury0.39 Venus0.72 Earth1.00 Mars1.52 Jupiter5.20 Saturn9.54

49 Getting the Measure of the Solar System PlanetDistance Mercury0.39 Venus0.72 Earth1.00 Mars1.52 Jupiter5.20 Saturn9.54 How far is an astronomical unit?…

50 Eratosthenes: (c 276 – 195 BC)

51 Syene – Alexandria = 5000 stadia Circumference of the Earth = stadia

52 Aristarchus (310 – 230 BC): Earth – Moon distance from eclipse geometry

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54 Aristarchus (310 – 230 BC): Earth – Sun distance from phases of the Moon

55 Aristarchus (310 – 230 BC): Earth – Sun distance from phases of the Moon Sound method, but angle between Sun and Moon hard to measure precisely.

56 Aristarchus (310 – 230 BC): Earth – Sun distance from phases of the Moon Sound method, but angle between Sun and Moon hard to measure precisely. Heliocentric model (Sun much larger than the Earth). Not widely accepted, because no parallax shift

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58 A B A and B line up the tree with different mountains, because they see it along different lines of sight Parallax Shift

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61 Nearby stars do show an annual parallax shift, but it is tiny! First detected only in the mid 19 th Century.

62 Even the nearest star shows a parallax shift of only 1/2000 th the width of the full Moon Parallax Shift

63 Even the nearest star shows a parallax shift of only 1/2000 th the width of the full Moon Parallax Shift But parallax would be the key to measuring the A.U…

64 Johannes Kepler predicted a transit of Mercury on 29 th May 1607 Instead, he discovered sunspots

65 Johannes Kepler predicted a transit of Mercury on 29 th May 1607 Instead, he discovered sunspots

66 May 7 th 2003: Transit of Mercury

67 Pierre Gassendi (1592 – 1655) Observed a transit of Mercury on 7 th November 1631 Predicted by Kepler in 1629, although he didnt live to see it

68 Pierre Gassendi (1592 – 1655) Observed a transit of Mercury on 7 th November 1631 Predicted by Kepler in 1629, although he didnt live to see it Kepler also predicted a transit of Venus in December 1631, but it occurred after Sunset in Europe

69 November 24 th 1639 Jeremiah Horrocks (c1619 – 1641) The Founder of English Astronomy (Eyre Crowe, Walker Art Gallery) William Crabtree ( ) Crabtree watching the transit of Venus (Ford Madox Brown, Manchester Town Hall)

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71 Edmond Halley ( ) Halley travelled to St Helena in 1677, to map the Southern Skies He observed a transit of Mercury on November 7 th Transit observations could measure the astronomical unit!

72 Edmond Halley ( ) Halley travelled to St Helena in 1677, to map the Southern Skies He observed a transit of Mercury on November 7 th Transit observations could measure the astronomical unit!

73 Method relied on an accurate estimate for the radius of the Earth In 1669 Jean Picard (1620 – 1682) measured (0.2% error)

74 Edmond Halley ( ) In 1716 Halley presented a paper to the Royal Society, appealing to astronomers to observe the Venus transits of 1761 and 1769

75 I recommend it, therefore, again and again, to those curious astronomers who (when I am dead) will have an opportunity of observing these things, that they would remember this my admonition, and diligently apply themselves with all their might to the making of this observation; and I earnestly wish them all imaginable success; in the first place that they may not – by the unseasonable obscurity of a cloudy sky – be deprived of this most desirable sight; and then, that having ascertained with more exactness the magnitudes of the planetary orbits, it may redound to their eternal fame and glory. Edmond Halley ( )

76 Edmond Halley ( ) In 1716 Halley presented a paper to the Royal Society, appealing to astronomers to observe the Venus transits of 1761 and 1769 He predicted the astronomical unit could be measured to an accuracy of 1 part in 500

77 The 6 th June 1761 Venus Transit o Observations meticulously planned, for many years o Public outreach description by James Ferguson o Franco-British cooperation, despite being at war! o 120 astronomers observed from about 60 locations

78 o Observations meticulously planned, for many years o Public outreach description by James Ferguson o Franco-British cooperation, despite being at war! o 120 astronomers observed from about 60 locations The 6 th June 1761 Venus Transit o Results were disappointing: Bad weather Poor global coverage Black Drop Effect Systematic errors

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81 The 6 th June 1761 Venus Transit o Results were disappointing: o Astronomical Unit lay between 77 million and 97 million miles (20% uncertainty) Bad weather Poor global coverage Black Drop Effect Systematic errors o Observations meticulously planned, for many years o Public outreach description by James Ferguson o Franco-British cooperation, despite being at war! o 120 astronomers observed from about 60 locations

82 Neville Maskelyne ( ) I am afraid we must wait till the next transit, in 1769…before astronomers will be able to do justice to Dr Halleys noble proposal

83 Captain James Cook The 3 rd June 1769 Venus Transit Captain James Cook set sail for Tahiti in August 1768, onboard the Endeavour with astronomer Charles Green

84 John Harrison H4 1763

85 Captain James Cook The 3 rd June 1769 Venus Transit Endeavour arrived in Tahiti on 13 th April 1769 – constructed a fort, and an observatory, at Point Venus

86 Captain James Cook The 3 rd June 1769 Venus Transit Endeavour arrived in Tahiti on 13 th April 1769 – constructed a fort, and an observatory, at Point Venus Transit observed by Cook, Green and Solander

87 Captain James Cook The 3 rd June 1769 Venus Transit: Tahiti

88 Captain James Cook The 3 rd June 1769 Venus Transit Endeavour arrived in Tahiti on 13 th April 1769 – constructed a fort, and an observatory, at Point Venus The Endeavour explored for two more years, before returning to Britain. During the voyage Charles Green died of malaria.

89 Captain James Cook The 3 rd June 1769 Venus Transit Endeavour arrived in Tahiti on 13 th April 1769 – constructed a fort, and an observatory, at Point Venus The Endeavour explored for two more years, before returning to Britain. During the voyage Charles Green died of malaria. Jean Baptiste Chappe dAuteroche died of typhus on 1 st August 1769, in Baja California

90 Captain James Cook The 3 rd June 1769 Venus Transit Endeavour arrived in Tahiti on 13 th April 1769 – constructed a fort, and an observatory, at Point Venus The Endeavour explored for two more years, before returning to Britain. During the voyage Charles Green died of malaria. Jean Baptiste Chappe dAuteroche died of typhus on 1 st August 1769, in Baja California Guillaume-Joseph-Hyacinthe-Jean-Baptiste Le Gentil wins the award for the unluckiest astronomer!

91 Captain James Cook The 3 rd June 1769 Venus Transit: Vardö, in Lapland

92 The 3 rd June 1769 Venus Transit Father Maxmilian Hell ( ) observed the transit from Lapland

93 3 rd June :34 UT Internal contact at Vardö…

94 3 rd June :34 UT Internal contact at Vardö… …meanwhile in Tahiti…

95 3 rd June :43 UT Internal contact in Tahiti…

96 3 rd June :45 UT Internal contact in Tahiti… …meanwhile at Vardö…

97 4 th June :22 UT Internal contact in Tahiti…

98 4 th June :22 UT Internal contact in Tahiti… …meanwhile at Vardö…

99 4 th June :33 UT Internal contact in at Vardö…

100 4 th June :33 UT Internal contact in at Vardö… …meanwhile in Tahiti…

101 The 3 rd June 1769 Venus Transit

102 Captain James Cook The 3 rd June 1769 Venus Transit After years of analysis, the results of the 1769 observations were published. e.g. Thomas Hornsby (1771):- Cassini de Thury 1 A.U. = 93,726,900 miles (between 90 and 94 million miles) Happy is our Century, to which has been reserved the glory of being witness to an event which will render it memorable in the annals of the Sciences!

103 Captain James Cook Venus Abandoned In the 19 th Century, astronomers attention switched to Mars. o Easier to measure positions at night! o Mars appeared smaller in size o No time limit on observations o No black drop or atmospheric effects

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105 View from 0 N, 0 W oo

106 View from 0 N, 180 W (opposite side of the Earth) oo

107 Captain James Cook Venus Abandoned David Gill (1843 – 1914) Measured the parallax of Mars from Ascension Island in 1877

108 Captain James Cook Venus Abandoned David Gill (1843 – 1914) Measured the parallax of Mars from Ascension Island in 1877

109 Captain James Cook Venus Abandoned David Gill (1843 – 1914) Measured the parallax of Mars from Ascension Island in 1877 Gills observations narrowed the range for 1 A.U.:- Between 92,981,000 miles and 93,235,600 miles Superceded the photographic observations of Venus transits in 1874 and 1882

110 Captain James Cook Venus Reclaimed Observations of the Near-Earth asteroid Eros allowed even greater precision

111 Captain James Cook Venus Reclaimed Observations of the Near-Earth asteroid Eros allowed even greater precision Harold Spencer Jones (1900 – 1960) 1 A.U. = 93,005,000 miles (less than 0.1% uncertainty)

112 Captain James Cook Venus Reclaimed Irwin Shapiro Bounced RADAR echoes from Venus in 1968

113 Captain James Cook Venus Reclaimed Irwin Shapiro Bounced RADAR echoes from Venus in 1968 In 1976 IAU adopted:- 1 A.U. = 92,958,329 miles = 149,597,870 km

114 Captain James Cook Venus Reclaimed Irwin Shapiro Bounced RADAR echoes from Venus in 1968 Shapiro Effect time delay also a test of General Relativity In 1976 IAU adopted:- 1 A.U. = 92,958,329 miles = 149,597,870 km

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117 Faro – Helsinki, 3479 km

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120 Waikoloa, Hawaii

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