Saturn in the Late 19th Century


These two sketches of Saturn appear in David P. Todd’s, A New Astronomy © 1897,
American Book Company. The first is drawn by British astronomer Henry Pratt made
on the evening of February 11, 1884 using an 8.15 inch clock driven Newtonian
telescope working at 450 power. It shows the rings of Saturn tilted most favorably
toward the earth. It appears on page 366 of Todd’s book. A brief article written
by Henry Pratt can be found in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical
Society, Volume 44, June 1884, p. 407 the article is titled: The Physical Features
of Saturn, 1884.                                                                 


The second Saturn sketch in David P. Todd’s, A New Astronomy © 1897,
American Book Company which appears on page 18 was made by the well
known American astronomer Edward Emerson Barnard at Lick Observatory
in 1894 (10 years after Pratt’s sketch). E.E. Barnard just 3 years before 
rendering  this sketch, had discovered Jupiter’s 5th moon Amalthea only
11 days after he was given permission to use the Alvan Clark 36 inch
Refractor telescope on Mount Hamilton. Note the change in appearance
of Saturn’s rings in the 10 years between sketches.

The full-length biography E. E. Barnard by William Sheehan, published in 1995, is
a truly remarkable story of triumph in the face adversity. The book is titled: The
Immortal Fire Within – The Life and Work of Edward Emerson Barnard.
Submitted by
Frank McCabe

One thought on “Saturn in the Late 19th Century”

  1. Frank, I too love these historic sketches thanks for sharing. You are quite right about the Barnard biography “The Immortal Fire Within” it is an incredible read and well worth the not inconsiderable expense to any astronomer with an ounce of romance in their heart.


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