Agnes Mary Clerke
|Died||20 January 1907 64) (aged|
Agnes Mary Clerke (10 February 1842 – 20 January 1907) was an Irish astronomer and writer, mainly in the field of astronomy. She was born in Skibbereen, County Cork, Ireland, and died in London.
An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or field outside the scope of Earth. They observe astronomical objects such as stars, planets, moons, comets, and galaxies – in either observational or theoretical astronomy. Examples of topics or fields astronomers study include planetary science, solar astronomy, the origin or evolution of stars, or the formation of galaxies. Related but distinct subjects like physical cosmology, which studies the Universe as a whole.
Astronomy is a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena. It applies mathematics, physics, and chemistry in an effort to explain the origin of those objects and phenomena and their evolution. Objects of interest include planets, moons, stars, nebulae, galaxies, and comets; the phenomena also includes supernova explosions, gamma ray bursts, quasars, blazars, pulsars, and cosmic microwave background radiation. More generally, all phenomena that originate outside Earth's atmosphere are within the purview of astronomy. A related but distinct subject is physical cosmology, which is the study of the Universe as a whole.
Skibbereen, is a town in County Cork, Ireland. It is located on the N71 national secondary road. The name "Skibbereen" means "little boat harbour". The River Ilen runs through the town; it reaches the sea about 12 kilometers away, at the seaside village of Baltimore. As of the Census of Ireland 2011, the population of the town was 2,568. Skibbereen is in the Cork South-West constituency, which has three seats.
Agnes Clerke was the daughter of John William Clerke (c. 1814–1890) who was, at the time, a bank manager in Skibbereen,and his wife Catherine Mary Deasy (b. c. 1819) whose father was a judge's registrar. She had two siblings; her older sister, Ellen Mary, was born in 1840, and her younger brother, Aubrey St. John, was born in 1843. All of the Clerke children were entirely home schooled.
Ellen Mary Clerke was an accomplished poet, linguist and a journalist. She was the daughter of Catherine Mary Deasy, whose father was a wealthy brewer and shipbuilder in the town of Clonakilty, and John William Clerke, a bank manager of Anglo-Irish descent in Skibbereen, and later a Registrar for his brother-in-law, Richard Morgan Deasy, a High-Court Judge.
Following in her father's footsteps—while studying classics, he had also taken courses in astronomy—she developed an interest in astronomy from an early age, using her father's 4 inch telescope in her observations and had begun to write a history of astronomy at the age of 15.In 1861, aged 19, her family moved to Dublin, and in 1863 to Queenstown. At the age of 25, partly for health reasons together with her elder sister Ellen, she went to Italy where she stayed until 1877, chiefly at Florence, studying science, languages, and other subjects that would be useful in their later lives. In 1877 she settled in London.
Dublin is the capital of, and largest city in, Ireland. It is on the east coast of Ireland, in the province of Leinster, at the mouth of the River Liffey, and is bordered on the south by the Wicklow mountains. It has an urban area population of 1,173,179, while the population of the Dublin Region, as of 2016, was 1,347,359, and the population of the Greater Dublin area was 1,904,806.
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 383,084 inhabitants in 2013, and over 1,520,000 in its metropolitan area.
Upon her return, she was able to get two articles, "Brigandage in Sicily" and "Copernicus in Italy", written while she had been in Italy, published in the Edinburgh Review of October 1877. This led to her being asked by Adam and Charles Black, publishers of the Review, who also published the Encyclopædia Britannica, to write biographies of a number of famous scientists for the ninth edition of the encyclopedia.This work let to a number of other commissions, including the publication of the article on astronomy for the Catholic Encyclopedia. During her career she wrote reviews of many books, including some written in French, German, Greek, or Italian.
The Edinburgh Review has been the title of four distinct intellectual and cultural magazines. The best known, longest-lasting, and most influential of the four was the third, which was published regularly from 1802 to 1929.
In 1885, she published her best known work A Popular History of Astronomy during the Nineteenth Century , which has received recognition beyond the time it was written.
Clerke was not a practical astronomer, instead collating, interpreting and summarising the results of astronomical research. In 1888 she spent three months at the Cape Observatory as the guest of the director, Sir David Gill, and his wife, and there became sufficiently familiar with spectroscopic work to be able to write about this newer branch of the science with increased clearness and confidence.[ citation needed ]
Sir David GillLLD was a Scottish astronomer who is known for measuring astronomical distances, for astrophotography, and for geodesy. He spent much of his career in South Africa.
Astronomical spectroscopy is the study of astronomy using the techniques of spectroscopy to measure the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, including visible light and radio, which radiates from stars and other celestial objects. A stellar spectrum can reveal many properties of stars, such as their chemical composition, temperature, density, mass, distance, luminosity, and relative motion using Doppler shift measurements. Spectroscopy is also used to study the physical properties of many other types of celestial objects such as planets, nebulae, galaxies, and active galactic nuclei.
In 1892 she was awarded the Actonian Prize of 100 guineas by the Royal Institution. As a member of the British Astronomical Association she attended its meetings regularly, as well as those of the Royal Astronomical Society. In 1903, with Lady Huggins, she was elected an honorary member of the Royal Astronomical Society, a rank previously held only by three other women, Caroline Herschel and Mary Somerville in 1835, and Anne Sheepshanks in 1862.
Her sister, Ellen Mary Clerke (1840–1906), also wrote about astronomy.
The lunar crater Clerke is named after her.
In 2002, the retired astronomy lecturer Mary Brück wrote a book on her, Agnes Mary Clerke and the Rise of Astrophysics.
In 2017, the Royal Astronomical Society established the Agnes Clerke Medal for the History of Astronomy or Geophysics, which is awarded to individuals who have achieved outstanding research into the history of astronomy or geophysics.The first person to receive the medal was Clive Ruggles.
She also wrote 55 articles for the Edinburgh Review , mainly on subjects connected with astrophysics, and articles for the Dictionary of National Biography , the Encyclopædia Britannica and the Catholic Encyclopedia , and several other periodicals. Her articles in the ninth edition (1875–89) of the Britannica included Galileo Galilei, Alexander von Humboldt, Johannes Kepler, Antoine Lavoisier and the zodiac.
Sir Joseph Norman Lockyer, known simply as Norman Lockyer, was an English scientist and astronomer. Along with the French scientist Pierre Janssen, he is credited with discovering the gas helium. Lockyer also is remembered for being the founder and first editor of the influential journal Nature.
The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) is a learned society and charity that encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. Its headquarters are in Burlington House, on Piccadilly in London. The society has over 4,000 members, termed Fellows, most of them professional researchers or postgraduate students. Around a quarter of Fellows live outside the UK. Members of the public who have an interest in astronomy and geophysics but do not qualify as Fellows may become Friends of the RAS.
Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin was a British-born American astronomer and astrophysicist who proposed in her 1925 doctoral thesis that stars were composed primarily of hydrogen and helium. Her groundbreaking conclusion was initially rejected because it contradicted the scientific wisdom of the time, which held that there were no significant elemental differences between the Sun and Earth. Independent observations eventually proved she was correct.
Sir William Huggins was an English astronomer best known for his pioneering work in astronomical spectroscopy together with his wife Margaret Lindsay Huggins.
The British Astronomical Association (BAA) was formed in 1890 as a national body to support the UK's amateur astronomers.
The Jackson-Gwilt Medal is an award that has been issued by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) since 1897. The original criteria were for the invention, improvement, or development of astronomical instrumentation or techniques; for achievement in observational astronomy; or for achievement in research into the history of astronomy. From 2017 onwards, the history of astronomy category has been removed and transferred to a new award, the Agnes Mary Clerke Medal.
Margaret Lindsay, Lady Huggins , born Margaret Lindsay Murray, was an Irish-English scientific investigator and astronomer. With her husband William Huggins she was a pioneer in the field of spectroscopy and co-authored the Atlas of Representative Stellar Spectra (1899).
Dame Carole Jordan, is a British physicist, astrophysicist, astronomer and academic. From 1994 to 1996, she was President of the Royal Astronomical Society; she was the first woman to hold this appointment. She won the Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2005; she was only the third female recipient following Caroline Herschel in 1828 and Vera Rubin in 1996. She was head of the Rudolf Peierls Centre for Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford from 2003 to 2008, and was one of the first female professors in Astronomy in Britain. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2006 for services to physics and astronomy.
Annie Russell Maunder was an Irish astronomer and mathematician.
The Actonian Prize was established by the Royal Institution as a septennial award for the "person who in the judgement of the committee of managers for the time being of the Institution, should have been the author of the best essay illustrative of the wisdom and beneficence of the Almighty, in such department of science as the committee of managers should, in their discretion, have selected". Each year the prize was to be awarded, announcements were published, and competitors for the prize were requested to send their essays to the Secretary of Royal Institution, Albemarle Street, London, and adjudication was made by the managers and announced a few months later.
Hermann Alexander Brück CBE FRSE was a German-born astronomer who spent the great portion of his career in the United Kingdom.
Stephen Joseph Perry SJ FRS was an English Jesuit and astronomer, known as a participant in scientific expeditions.
Mary Acworth Evershed was a British astronomer and scholar. Her work on Dante Alighieri was written under the pen name M.A. Orr. Although her second name is increasingly appearing as Ackworth, this is totally incorrect, she always gave it as Acworth, and it appeared as such in both her obituaries, of which the one appearing in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society was written by her nephew A. David Thackeray, who presumably would have known. The first appearance of this incorrect version appears to have occurred in an article written by Mary Brück.
The National Astronomy Meeting (NAM) is an annual scientific conference of astronomers, usually held in the British Isles. It is sponsored and coordinated by the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), and functions as the primary annual meeting of the society. NAM is one of the largest professional astronomy conferences in Europe, with typically around 600 delegates attending.
Elizabeth Brown was a British astronomer who specialized in solar observation, especially sunspots and solar eclipses.
Isis Pogson was a British astronomer and meteorologist.
National Astronomy Week (NAW) is an event held every few years in the United Kingdom to promote public awareness of astronomy by celebrating notable astronomical events.
Hector Copland Macpherson, was a Scottish astronomer and minister. His 1940 work Biographical Dictionary of Astronomy was later incorporated into the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers, which was first published in 2007.
Mary Brück was an Irish astronomer, astrophysicist and historian of science, whose career was spent at Dunsink Observatory in Dublin and the Royal Observatory Edinburgh in Scotland.
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Agnes Mary Clerke