Astronomy in Yorkshire

Martin Lunn

Welcome to Astronomy in Yorkshire, astronomy stories from England's largest county. By Martin Lunn MBE

All Episodes

The Devils Arrows a line of three huge stones sometimes called ‘the three sisters’ there are suggestions that originally there were four stones.

May 2

2 min 56 sec

Sir Frank Watson Dyson 1868-1939 was born near Ashby de la Zouche in Leicestershire who is largely remembered today for introducing the time signals or (pips) from Greenwich. Although not born in Yorkshire when he was very young his family moved to Yorkshire.

Apr 26

5 min 26 sec

One of the most prestigious positions in astronomy today is to be the Savilian Professor of Astronomy at the University of Oxford. You have probably guessed it was a Yorkshire man who established that position, Sir Henry Savile November 1549 – 1622. He was born at Bradley, near Halifax.

Apr 24

3 min 45 sec

Charles Green 1734- 1771 was born in Wentworth South Yorkshire and would travel with Captain Cook to the south seas to witness the transit of Venus on the ship Endeavour.

Apr 22

6 min 28 sec

Alfred Fowler was born on March 22nd 1868 at Wilsden on the outskirts of Bradford and would become one of the most important astronomers of the first half of the 20th century.

Apr 19

6 min 38 sec

Think of maths lessons at school think of Logarithms then think of Henry Briggs 1561-1631, if you didn’t like log tables he would be the man to blame and he was a Yorkshire man. Although he didn’t invent the logarithm he made them more useable in the scientific community. He was also a damn good astronomer!

Apr 16

5 min 51 sec

The designs of telescopes would take a giant leap forward in the eighteenth century in Yorkshire, if Abraham Sharpe made what might be called an equatorial telescope the first true equatorially mounted telescope was made in York in 1739 by Henry Hindley (1771-1777). He was a clock maker rather than a telescope maker and although not born in Yorkshire it is believed that he was born near Manchester in 1701 where he served as an apprentice clock maker and moved to York in 1730.

Apr 14

7 min 2 sec

Roger of Hoveden or Howden in the East Riding, around the year 1192 wrote a general history of England from the year 732. He does make an interesting reference to the Milky Way, Roger says that the Anglo Saxon name was Waetlinga Straet or the paths of the Waetlings, these were giant sons of King Waetla who were the legendary founders of the path.

Apr 13

3 min 7 sec

The York Observatory was built by the Yorkshire Philisophical Society in 1832 following the first meeting of the Bristish Association for the Advancement of Science at their museum, The Yorkshire Museum in 1831. It houses the oldest known working Thomas Cooke telescope.

Apr 12

18 min

A black hole does not have a surface, like a planet or star. Instead, it is a region of space where matter has collapsed in on itself. This catastrophic collapse is the result of a supernova explosion. The gravitational pull of this region is so great that nothing can escape – not even light. The first time the term ‘Black Hole’ was used was in Yorkshire in the 1780s by John Michell 1724-1793.

Apr 10

8 min 50 sec

This is the oldest known British meteorite in ‘captivity’ in a museum. It would prompt the first full scale investigation into meteorites.

Apr 8

7 min 40 sec

Anthony Ascham was born at Kirby Wiske near Northallerton (c1512-c1560) He studied at Cambridge in 1540 his subjects were medicine and physics, in 1553 Edward VI appointed him vicar at St Lambert’s Church in Burneston, near Bedale.

Apr 6

3 min 1 sec

Ernest William Brown was born in Hull in Yorkshire on November 19th 1866, he was educated at the East Riding College in Hull however while there he showed such an aptitiude for mathematics. Although a Yorkshire man he would spend most of his life in America. Between 1907 and 1919 Brown produced his monumental Brown’s Tables of the Motions of the Moon.

Apr 5

7 min 11 sec

One of the greatest Saxon scholars, Alcuin (735-804) was born in Northumbria possibly in York itself in 735 , he would go on to become one of the best sources of information during the latter part of the eighth century.

Apr 2

8 min 9 sec

To think that Yorkshire or to be more precise the city of York would become the centre of the astronomical world might seem a bit fanciful, but that is exactly what happened for five brief years in the 1780s.The two astronomers John Goodricke 1764-1786 and Edward Pigott 1753-1825 became what I called the ‘Fathers of Variable Star Astronomy’ due to the research that they undertook.

Apr 1

34 min

We now travel back in time to around 3,500 BCE (Before Christian Era) to discover one of the most important ancient sites in Britain, this is the Thornborough Henges. They are located near the village of Thornborough which is in the Hambleton district of North Yorkshire near to Bedale. The henges consist of a series of three circular mounds with ditches and banks that were probably in use for over a thousand years. This site is often referred to as the ‘Stonehenge of the North’.

Mar 31

6 min 36 sec

Abraham Sharp was born in Little Horton near Bradford in 1653 the year that Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector. Sharp would go on to become assisitant to John Flamsteed the first astronomer royal and also to contsruct what was the first telescope which had any sort of accuracy.

Mar 29

11 min 57 sec

John Field a farmer would become a trail blazer and was the first person to publish an ephemeris or movements of the stars and planets in England that was based on the Copernican theory.

Mar 26

8 min 10 sec

The Hidden story of two astronomers and their telescopes from the Carpet town, that town is Halifax.

Mar 25

32 min 2 sec

This is the story of possibly the greatest telescooe maker of the 19th century.

Mar 24

34 min 26 sec

Around 35 million years ago a meteorite struck what is now the North Sea, about 60 miles off the east coast of Yorkshire. I think it is close enough to be called a Yorkshire Meteorite!!

Mar 23

4 min 22 sec