August 12 – 227 Philosophia

Asteroid 227 Philosophia was discovered on this day in1882 by Paul-Pierre Henry. You may remember from previous posts that Paul Henry was one of a pair of asteroid-hunting brothers who took it in turns to claim credit for their discoveries. The brothers were also involved in the Carte du Ciel and Astrographic Catalogue projects, two vast star mapping projects about which I’ll have to talk at some unspecified future date.

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Asteroid 234 Barbara, a main belt asteroid of approximately 45 km diameter, was discovered on August 12th 1883 by Christian Heinrich Friedrich Peters in New York. It is possible that this asteroid was named after Saint Barbara, but it is more likely that the name refers to a relative of a Professor Ibbitson, a member of the Astronomische Gesellschaft, the body responsible for naming Barbara at their September 1883 meeting in Vienna.

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ALSO TODAY . . . .

1923  –  Discovery of asteroid 1000 Piazzia. This 48 km wide main belt asteroid was discovered by Karl Wilhelm Reinmuth, and named in honour of the Italian priest and star cataloguer, Giuseppe Piazzi, discoverer of the dwarf planet Ceres.

1977  –  HEAO-1 (High Energy Astronomy Observatory) launched.

HEAO-1 (image credit: NASA)

HEAO-1 (image credit: NASA)

HEAO 1 was the first of three similar observatories. It operated until early 1979, burning up on re-entry on 15th March of that year. There were four instruments on board, measuring x- and gamma-rays. HEAO 1 compiled a comprehensive catalog of X-ray sources, and discovered the first eclipse ever seen in a low mass X-ray binary star system (where one component is either a neutron star or a black hole).

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