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Aramcheck

The Milky Way - London (1869)

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Posted (edited)

From "The Midnight Sky: Familiar Notes on Stars & Planets" by Edwin Dunkin (of the Royal Observatory Greenwich & Fellow Of The  Royal Astronomical Society London).

'With thirty-two Star-Maps and numerous other illustrations'
Published by The Religious  Tract Society, London.

Picture is from December 15th 1869... bet you can't see the Milky Way now from St Paul's now!

(Nicked this from a talk at the Leeds Astronomical Society last November on light pollution)

MilkyWayOverStPauls1869.jpg

Edited by Aramcheck
typo
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Is it possible to see stars at all from central London? Biggest problem despite light pollution is a Gerkin getting in the way.

 

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There was a time I remember seeing the Milky Way from my back garden in suburban London, but that was back in the late '60s I think the last time I glimpsed it was in the late '80s but it was just a faint wisp.

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Times do change but am I right in saying that there were reports of the Thames freezing over? I may have seen one of the earliest photos taken late 1800s but I stand to be corrected.

I know the skies may have been clear back then, but I would have needed a five wheel filter for the nose for sure.

Marv

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I am going to London this Christmas for a family reunion. Numerous things to see, planetarium, meteorite collection natural history museum, Greenwich observatory.

Perhaps a wide field long exposure from the south bank trying to get St Paul’s in the frame will answer my own question. Funny how your perspective changes over time. I was a cycle courier in London in the mid nineties and not once did I ever look up and wonder. City life I guess.

M

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27 minutes ago, Marvin Jenkins said:

Times do change but am I right in saying that there were reports of the Thames freezing over? I may have seen one of the earliest photos taken late 1800s but I stand to be corrected.

I know the skies may have been clear back then, but I would have needed a five wheel filter for the nose for sure.

Marv

Frost Fairs

Not as often as I thought and the latest was in 1814 according to the article.

I well remember the winter of '62-'63 when the Thames froze above Teddington, and the sea froze out from the land. Brr..

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Thanks DaveS must have been a pictorial representation as 1814 is surely before photography. Man 62-63 must have been harsh. One of the family gathering this Christmas is a lifelong Londoner, I will pick his brains also as he still lives near Teddington.

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12 minutes ago, DaveS said:

Frost Fairs

Not as often as I thought and the latest was in 1814 according to the article.

I well remember the winter of '62-'63 when the Thames froze above Teddington, and the sea froze out from the land. Brr..

I remember this as a child but always thought it was later, maybe '64...Bemused to realise I was so young, then, yet still remember it so vividly......I wonder if this is why I hate the sound of crunching snow underfoot, like fingernails on chalkboard!! lol.

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On 04/10/2019 at 22:26, DaveS said:

Frost Fairs

Not as often as I thought and the latest was in 1814 according to the article.

I well remember the winter of '62-'63 when the Thames froze above Teddington, and the sea froze out from the land. Brr..

Early 1990s the Thames froze over at Molesey/Sunbury ... before it completely froze over and rowing was stopped I sculled into the ice behind Tagg’s Island.

and I’ve just bought the book mentioned in the OP ... "The Midnight Sky: Familiar Notes on Stars & Planets" by Edwin Dunkin

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It's interesting reading the accounts of your cold weather. I would have to talk with someone who could remember the date better than me being I was less than 10, but the early to mid 60, was some of our freezes that wiped out all the citrus in the area around Orlando. 

It was never replanted, the industry moved more to the South.

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On ‎04‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 18:36, DaveS said:

There was a time I remember seeing the Milky Way from my back garden in suburban London, but that was back in the late '60s I think the last time I glimpsed it was in the late '80s but it was just a faint wisp.

I distinctly remember seeing the Milky Way from what was then industrial South Wales  in the mid 70's. However, I had a 2 mile early morning walk to the rail station during the week to commute into the capital (Cardiff) so presumably my eyes may have become partially dark adapted. 

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What a lovely quaint chart! I had some trouble identifying everything in it, so using Stellarium I went to London in 1869.

It looks like the old chart is off by a few hours, and the brightness of the stars is quite arbitrary at times. Delphinus is missing entirely and I couldn't trace the left arm of Hercules even though I think it is there.

In order to get a level horizon in the Stellarium screenshot I had to place it halfway the screen, which made a very wide view necessary, so that the screenshot too is distorted. I zipped the full size view: stellarium-000.zip It is a magnitude 5 chart.

1869Dec15.thumb.png.bafe1f688e14792bcb83a810aaa3e383.png

It may have its flaws, but the 150 years old chart easily beats the Stellarium chart when it comes to charm and beauty.

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Posted (edited)

I think the chart is off by a few years; the book was published in 1869, and besides I think at midnight on 15 Dec that year the Moon was bright and up. Not that it makes any difference to the stars’ placement, they’re in basically the same place every year at a given date and time.

The actual time looks reasonable to me though when I look it up, of course whatever projection Stellarium is using and whatever implied projection was used to draw the chart will have a major bearing (pun intended) on the relative angles etc of the asterisms.

Magnus

Edited by Captain Magenta
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On 04/10/2019 at 22:08, Marvin Jenkins said:

I am going to London this Christmas for a family reunion. Numerous things to see, planetarium, meteorite collection natural history museum, Greenwich observatory.

Perhaps a wide field long exposure from the south bank trying to get St Paul’s in the frame will answer my own question. Funny how your perspective changes over time. I was a cycle courier in London in the mid nineties and not once did I ever look up and wonder. City life I guess.

M

The London Planetarium has been closed for ages so you might want to rethink that one. Think Greenwich has one so that might be an option.

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