The first four asteroids: a history of their impact on English astronomy in the early nineteenth century

Cunningham, Clifford Joseph (2014) The first four asteroids: a history of their impact on English astronomy in the early nineteenth century. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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Abstract

This thesis examines how the first four asteroids (Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta) were studied and written about in Great Britain in the early nineteenth century. It concentrates on the work of William Herschel, who pioneered the scientific study of the asteroids. Just as importantly, he introduced the word ‘asteroid’ to distinguish the new discoveries from planets and comets. Solving a mystery that has lasted for more than two hundred years, work for this thesis finally revealed the originator of the word ‘asteroid’.

A synoptic survey of the asteroid-related correspondence between astronomers within England and between England and the Continent is presented, with some 140 letters noted, most of which are given in full. The asteroids were also given extraordinary press coverage in the periodicals of the day. Each one of these entries, totalling more than 125 scattered across 34 magazines and journals, is listed with the full text given for many of them.

Based on every extant source, this thesis presents the first detailed examination of the scientific and popular impact the discovery of the asteroids had on English astronomy in the early nineteenth century.


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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Supervisors: Orchison, Wayne; Schmadel, Lutz; Brown, Carolyn
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2016 04:48
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2018 01:27
Uncontrolled Keywords: asteroids, Ceres, Pallas, Juno, Vesta, Great Britain, history, English astronomy, nineteenth century, William Herschel, England, astronomy
Fields of Research : 02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020110 Stellar Astronomy and Planetary Systems
02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020103 Cosmology and Extragalactic Astronomy
02 Physical Sciences > 0201 Astronomical and Space Sciences > 020109 Space and Solar Physics
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/27903

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