First Moon Map made in Syon Park

Thomas Harriot made first observations of moon through telescope

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Telescope 400

Harriot moon

One of Harriot's maps, copyright Lord Egremont, click for bigger image

Royal Astronomical Society

Bad Astronomy

International Year of Astronomy 2009

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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 Jupiterís satellites. Read this biography of Harriot, specially written for this event by Dr Allan Chapman of Wadham College, Oxford.

Articles at Bad Astronomy, Royal Astronomical Society and Telescope400 give further details of Harriot's life and larger images

Telescope400 is a major event to be held at Syon Park on Sunday 26th July 2009. Telescope400 will draw attention to the importance of the telescope in astronomy today and in the past and highlight the unique contribution to UK astronomy made by Thomas Harriot (1560 - 1621)

* Come and celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the first ever telescope observations of the Moon - made by Thomas Harriot at Syon Park in Middlesex on July 26 1609
* Open to all and suitable for all ages, the event will be held in the grounds and buildings of Syon Park
* Exciting and interesting activities for all the family
* A memorial to record Harriot's achievements will be unveiled during the day
* Booking not necessary
* Pay only the normal admission charge to Syon Park gardens

January 14, 2009