Sunday, 29 March 2020

Astronomy in the North West # 1 March 28th 1868 John Joynson Liverpool observes occulation of gamma tauri

Astronomy in the North West # 1 March 28th 1868 John Joynson, Liverpool observes occulation of gamma Tauri

 This is the first of a series of astronomical articles that involve the North West. It could be looking at famous astronomers born in the North West, astronomical discoveries made in the North West, astronomical events seen around the world either by people from the North West or by astronomers using equipment made in the North West and of course events seen in the sky over the North West..

It will not all be all historical because I will keep people up to date with all the latest news of what can be seen in the night sky.

On March 28th 1868 Mr John Joynson (1820-1895) of Waterloo near Liverpool observed an occultation of the star gamma Tauri by the Moon, in the constellation of Taurus the Bull. The star gamma Tauri disappeared at 9 hours 02 minutes 48.5 seconds and reappeared at 9 hours 58 minutes and 04 seconds according to Greenwich Time. Joynson was using a 3.5 inch telescope made by the York based telescope maker Thomas Cooke.

An occultation occurs when a body such as the Moon or a planet passes in front of a star, sometimes the Moon passes in front of a planet and very rarely a planet will pass in front of another planet.


Joynson also had 6 inch Cooke telescope that he brought in 1863, in 1930 after Joynson’s death the 6 in Cooke was given to the University of London Mill Hill Observatory which had been opened in 1929. The Joynson telescope was used extensively particularly between 1982 and 1997 when their 8 inch Cooke was being restored. The |Joynson telescope is now in store.

Joynson 6 inch Cooke

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