April 6, 2020

AstroEvent: The Many Birthdays of Neptune.

Current position of Neptune versus discovery. (Created by Author using Starry Night).

Mark your calendars; the planet Neptune, the first world discovered by a tour de force of pure mathematics, passes a landmark this week…sort of. The story harkens way back to a prediction made by Urbain Le Verrier of the position of an object tugging on the Planet Uranus. (Yes, we know of the John Couch Adams controversy!) The object was spotted by Johann Galle and Heinrich d’Arrest at the Berlin observatory on the night of September 23-24th 1846 using Le Verrier’s predictions and was within a degree of where it should be. But did you know that Neptune is just now completing its first full orbit since discovery? [Read more...]

AstroEvent of the Week:29th-September 5th, 2008: Spot Neptune!

Now, to spot a planet that was first located mathimatically.

Now that the Moon is out of the sky this week, it’s a good time to add the outer most gas giant to your “been there, done that” list! First spotted in 1846 by Johann Galle & Heinrich D’Arrest, Neptune’s position was first deduced by the French Mathematician Le Verrier, who himself hated the “grittiness” of rank and file observational astronomy. [Read more...]