Telescopium – the telescope

September 4, 2016


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.
  • 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 to 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.

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