- Nov 4th
Prof Andrew Lawrence, Royal Observatory Edinburgh
Chasing Piazzi Smyth
In 1856 the second Astronomer Royal for Scotland, Charles Piazzi Smyth, undertook a historic expedition to Tenerife, to test his idea that astronomy should be carried out from mountain tops rather than smoky cities. In 2016 we took students from Edinburgh, joined up with students in Tenerife, and tried to re-create his historic measurements - on the quality of seeing, on the nature of the zodiacal light, on the nature of the dark lines in the solar spectrum, and on the infrared radiation from the Moon. This adventure was filmed as part of a documentary being made by a Spanish film maker. I will talk about the results we found, what happened to astronomy between 1856 and 2016, and where it is going next.