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By Peter Duffett-Smith

In its first versions, sensible Astronomy together with your Calculator loved large luck. utilizing transparent and logical

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The series began with Aries, the constellation that the Sun entered at the moment of the March equinox, an important moment in the year, marking the beginning of spring as defined by astronomers. To this day, the point on the sky where the Sun crosses the celestial equator in March is known as the first point of Aries, and this is the point which is defined to have a right ascension of zero. The Precession of the Equinoxes Since the time of the Babylonians, the constellations have been redefined.

The variation in the distance to Mars is equally pronounced, as is apparent in the Earth-centered view of its orbit shown in Fig. 3. The apparent sizes of the planets don’t all fluctuate with the same period. Jupiter and Saturn make their closest approaches to the Earth roughly once each year, but Venus and Mars do so only once every 2 years. Circling in their orbits, all in the same direction but moving more slowly the further they are from the Sun, the planets are like runners on a celestial racetrack.

Urbain Le Verrier (1811–1877) of the Paris Observatory presented his work to the Paris Academy of Sciences, making an estimate of the planet’s position good to a few degrees, and by the following year he had persuaded the Berlin Observatory to take up the search. John Couch Adams (1819–1892), at Cambridge, had started work on the problem earlier, arrived at a similar conclusion, and eventually convinced Cambridge professor of astronomy James Challis (1803–1882) to take up his own search. However, though he had a head start, Challis delayed, and Berlin took the discovery on September 23.

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