Day 2 – off the coast of Northern NSW

Well first sea day – quite peaceful and calm. First talk over and done with. Love the research for talks as you learn so much and that then gives ideas for more research – the whole transit of Venus and Mercury to measure the Sun – Earth. Distance which led to Cook discovering Botany Bay – Joseph Banks paying nearly 10,000 pounds to go along on the trip and making it one of the best equipped scientific expeditions – his rising to scientific heights and it being his suggestion for the convicts to be sent to Botany Bay. The appointment of William Dawes as first fleet astronomer because Maskelyne wanted to prove a point recovering the comets of 1532 and 1661 which he anticipated reappearing in 1788-1789 so had the Board of Longitude provide Lt Dawes and a number of instruments for the recovery which he predicted would be best viewed from the Southern Hemisphere. Now Dawes did not recover the comet but he did meet the French astronomer Dagelet who was a part of the ill fated La Perouse expedition and the letter from Dagelet to Dawes still remains.

But I did establish one fact – I could never have been an astronomer in those days as you needed to be able to draw – imagine standing at the eyepiece in winter one eye on the eyepiece and the other drawing what you saw – and you would need many nights to get it right! They were made of tough stuff!

Donna the Astronomer

I am a keen astronomer lucky enough to live and work in Coonabarabran the Astronomy Capital of Australia! I am a ‘Drover’s Brat’ and discoverer of a couple of comets and asteroids. I operate Milroy Observatory and can show you how to best integrate dark sky experiences into your tourism, farm stay or AirBnB business.

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