Syon Park: Sunday 26th July 2009
This event included the installation of a plaque to commemorate Thomas Harriot. Below is a picture of Lord Egremont performing the unveiling. (Credit: Max Alexander).
You can see a detailed picture of the memorial plaque by clicking here. This may take a few seconds to download.
Four hundred years ago, an Englishman named Thomas Harriot turned a telescope on the Moon and marvelled at its rugged, cratered surface. The drawing he made that night is the oldest known depiction of a celestial object as seen through a telescope, beating Galileo by four months.
- Telescope400 celebrated the 400th anniversary of Harriot’s achievement at an astronomically themed day for space enthusiasts young and old on the very site where Harriot made his observations – Syon Park, West London. Full details of the event are here
- Open to all and suitable for all ages, the event was held in the grounds and buildings of Syon Park Click here for maps
- Exciting and interesting activities ran for all the family: eg make a sundial, win a telescope!
- A memorial to record Harriot's achievements was unveiled by Lord Egremont
- The Quatercentenary Lecture and Reception was given by Dr Allan Chapman - Details here.
- Those attending paid only the normal admission charge to Syon House and Gardens, all activities (except the planetarium and the Harriot Lecture) were free.
- Exhibitions (including pictures, early telescopes and archive material)
- Demonstrations (solar telescopes)
- Planetarium (Star Dome)
- Competitions (build a water rocket)
- Things to make and take home
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Who was Thomas Harriot?
On July 26th 1609, several months before Galileo, an English scientist, Thomas Harriot, carried out the first observations and drawings of the Moon made using a telescope at his residence in the grounds of Syon House, West London.
There is very little public recognition of Thomas Harriot in the UK and no lasting memorial to his very considerable achievements in maths, physics, engineering as well as astronomy.
He collaborated with some of the most brilliant scientists of his time. He was a close friend and in the service of Sir Walter Raleigh, with whom he sailed to Virginia as a scientist/explorer. His lunar observations were remarkable for the time. His very detailed observations and drawings of the Sun and sunspots may also have been the first. He also recorded the motions of Jupiter’s satellites. Read this biography of Harriot, specially written for this event by Dr Allan Chapman of Wadham College, Oxford.
Sponsor: We are grateful for sponsorship from the Royal Astronomical Society.
- Images of Thomas Harriot's drawings © Lord Egremont / West Sussex Archives. - we are grateful for permission to use these. Reproduction requires permission
- Trinity College (Oxford) Portrait © Max Alexander. Reproduction requires permission. Contact via http://www.maxalexander.com/ or http://www.sciencephoto.com/
- "Harriot's Moone Catalogue" (HMC)" © Geoff Burt
- Telescope400 is run by the UK National Astronomy Week team - in existence since 1981
- Web Site by: Brendan Blake / Edward Morgan