2 QUESTIONS

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Bob in Baltimore
Bob in Baltimore Senior Member • Posts: 1,068
Re: 2 QUESTIONS
3

Your question about Mercury brings to mind the story that the craters on Mercury were actually observed in 1901 by Dr Thomas Jackson Jefferson See, using the 26" telescope of the U. S. Naval Observatory.

T J J See was an eccentric and controversial fellow. He was intensely disliked by his colleagues, but none-the-less held important posts.

For a time in the seventies See became of man of interest to some of us in the planetary community because of his, well, strangeness.  He had published his biography with the title of "The Life and Unparalleled Discoveries of T J J See". He wrote it himself, but had the modesty (??) to use a pen name, William Webb.

We managed to drive up the cost of his otherwise worthless book in the used book market. A dozen crazy (current) astronomers were able to influence the used book market! And this was before the internet!

Did he actually see the craters? I believe that it is possible that he did, but his credibility with his colleagues was essentially zero, and he was not believed. In the same time period he pushed the thery that the Moon's craters were due to impacts and not volcanoes as was then widely believed. He used he official position at the Naval Observatory to arrange for experiments using naval guns, and he showed that impacts produced the observed morphology. He wasn't believed in that matter either.

A competent amateur astronomer can easily take better pictures than we could with the best telescopes in the world 50 years ago, let alone 120 years ago. Somebody should try to image Mercury's craters.

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Bob in Baltimore

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