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

PhD Thesis


Cunningham, Clifford Joseph. 2014. The first four asteroids: a history of their impact on English astronomy in the early nineteenth century . PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.
Title

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

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorCunningham, Clifford Joseph
SupervisorOrchison, Wayne
Schmadel, Lutz
Brown, Carolyn
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages334
Year2014
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.

Keywordsasteroids, Ceres, Pallas, Juno, Vesta, Great Britain, history, English astronomy, nineteenth century, William Herschel, England, astronomy
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020510109. Stellar astronomy and planetary systems
510103. Cosmology and extragalactic astronomy
519999. Other physical sciences not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
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https://research.usq.edu.au/item/q31xz/the-first-four-asteroids-a-history-of-their-impact-on-english-astronomy-in-the-early-nineteenth-century

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