Brad's Jeep and MeadeNick Lacaille named a constellation Telescopium in order to honor a specific telescope, the one at the Paris Observatory. But then the heavenly borders got all rearranged and they had to cut off the top of the scope as Nick had drawn it. So as a result they had to use different stars for the top and bottom of the scope and some new stars for the mount. We wound up with a shorter and squattier design of telescope than the one in Paris. A similar thing happened to me after I sold my pickup and bought a Jeep.


Here are the more interesting facts about Telescopium.

  • No stars brighter than about 4th magnitude so you can barely see anything here.
  • Contains no stars known for certain to have planets.
  • No meteor showers associated with the region.
  • No myths or cute little stories associated.
  • At one time it was called "Tubus Astronomicus" which was dropped because it only invited ridicule of heavy-set astronomers.

Brad looking through his Meade

Okay there is one cool thing to Telescopium's credit. There is a faint consortium of about 12 galaxies here known as the Telescopium Group. They are currently in a meeting that started 13 billion years ago and is expected last the better part of forever.

NGC-6861 is a lenticular galaxy that photographs well, but it's only 11th magnitude so you need a Tubus Maximus to appreciate it. The discovery of NGC-6861 is credited to James Dunlop, a Scottish guy who published some pretty impressive papers about stars but then folks found a lot of mistakes mixed in with the good stuff so they quit inviting him to parties. Astronomers are like that. For awhile it seemed like he might make a come back but then he got sick, and then his observatory got a bad infestation of ants, and then he died.


Brad's other MeadeThere are a few minor bits of additional scattered cosmic flotsam and jetsam to be had here and there in Telescopium if one is truly desperate, but nothing of great concern so I suggest not dwelling. Just smile, nod, and move along.

Carpe Noctem.
Skywise Unlimited

Views: 126

Comment by _Robert_ on September 5, 2016 at 6:44pm

I understand that as the earth moves you can use the parallax effect to determine the distance of the closer stars. Amazing.

Comment by Noel on September 5, 2016 at 7:51pm

Okay Brad, Tubus Maximus... actual term? LOL... 

What size and type of scope would you need to get a decent look at Telescopium?

I have so many trees in my back yard, north west facing btw,, that all I get is a small patch of sky. Owned a 103mm? Mead refractor at one point. Rusted and got rid of it after about 12 years in my shed. Someone said that I should go with a 6" Newtonian. I don't know. Any tips? Thanks.

Comment by SteveInCO on September 5, 2016 at 8:26pm

I understand that as the earth moves you can use the parallax effect to determine the distance of the closer stars. Amazing.

Indeed.  In fact all of our astronomical distance measurements are somewhere on a ladder, from first figuring out how big the earth's orbit was, using that to get parallax to stars, using that to get something else useful at longer distances, up to measuring redshifts and deriving a lookback time for very distant galaxies whose light left them billions of years ago.

The tale of how we first figured out the size of the earth's orbit is a fascinating one in and of itself, and I told it here:

(starting at "The Importance of Venus Transits in History")

Also, it's interesting to note that we had no actual experimental evidence that the earth went around the sun (ok, ok they orbit a common center of gravity, but that's deep inside the sun) until we measured stellar parallaxes.  It was just that Newtonian gravitational theory, that could explain almost everything other than some fiddling minor glitch with Mercury, indicated it had to be so.


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