Isis Pogson

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Elizabeth Isis Pogson
Born28 September 1852
Oxford, England
Died14 May 1945(1945-05-14) (aged 92)
Croydon, London
Other namesElizabeth Isis Kent
Known forAstronomy

Isis Pogson (born Elizabeth Isis Pogson; 28 September 1852 – 14 May 1945) was a British astronomer and meteorologist, who was one of the first women to be elected as a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Astronomy Universe events since the Big Bang 13.8 billion years ago

Astronomy is a natural science that studies celestial objects and phenomena. It uses mathematics, physics, and chemistry in order to explain their origin and evolution. Objects of interest include planets, moons, stars, nebulae, galaxies, and comets. Relevant phenomena include supernova explosions, gamma ray bursts, quasars, blazars, pulsars, and cosmic microwave background radiation. More generally, astronomy studies everything that originates outside Earth's atmosphere. Cosmology is a branch of astronomy. It studies the Universe as a whole.

Meteorology Interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere focusing on weather forecasting

Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences which includes atmospheric chemistry and atmospheric physics, with a major focus on weather forecasting. The study of meteorology dates back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 18th century. The 19th century saw modest progress in the field after weather observation networks were formed across broad regions. Prior attempts at prediction of weather depended on historical data. It was not until after the elucidation of the laws of physics and more particularly, the development of the computer, allowing for the automated solution of a great many equations that model the weather, in the latter half of the 20th century that significant breakthroughs in weather forecasting were achieved. An important domain of weather forecasting is marine weather forecasting as it relates to maritime and coastal safety, in which weather effects also include atmospheric interactions with large bodies of water.

Royal Astronomical Society learned society

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 ("Fellows"), most of them professional researchers or postgraduate students. Around a quarter of Fellows live outside the UK.



Early life

Pogson was born in Oxford, England, the eldest [1] daughter of Norman Pogson by his first marriage to Elizabeth Jane Ambrose (died 1869). [2] She was likely named after the River Isis, the part of the River Thames that flows through Oxford. [3]

Oxford City and non-metropolitan district in England

Oxford is a university city in Oxfordshire, England, with a population of 155,000. It is 56 miles (90 km) northwest of London, 64 miles (103 km) from Birmingham and 24 miles (39 km) from Reading by road.

The Isis river in Oxfordhire, UK

"The Isis" is an alternative name for the River Thames, used from its source in the Cotswolds until it is joined by the Thame at Dorchester in Oxfordshire. It derives from the ancient name for the Thames, Tamesis, which in the Middle Ages was falsely assumed to be a combination of "Thame" and "Isis". Notably, the Isis flows through the city of Oxford.

River Thames river in southern England

The River Thames, known alternatively in parts as the Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London. At 215 miles (346 km), it is the longest river entirely in England and the second-longest in the United Kingdom, after the River Severn.

Assisting astronomer

Norman Pogson was an assistant at Radcliffe Observatory and then at Hartwell Observatory. He discovered the asteroid 42 Isis on 23 May 1856, [3] [4] for which he was awarded the Lalande Prize. [5] The asteroid was named by Professor Manuel John Johnson, director of the Radcliffe Observatory, presumably in honour of Pogson's daughter Isis; it could also have been a reference to the River Isis. [3]

Radcliffe Observatory Observatory in Oxford, England

Radcliffe Observatory was the astronomical observatory of the University of Oxford from 1773 until 1934, when the Radcliffe Trustees sold it and built a new observatory in Pretoria, South Africa. It is a Grade I listed building. Today, the observatory forms a part of Green Templeton College of the University of Oxford.

Asteroid Minor planet that is not a comet

Asteroids are minor planets, especially of the inner Solar System. Larger asteroids have also been called planetoids. These terms have historically been applied to any astronomical object orbiting the Sun that did not resolve into a disc in a telescope and was not observed to have characteristics of an active comet such as a tail. As minor planets in the outer Solar System were discovered that were found to have volatile-rich surfaces similar to comets, these came to be distinguished from the objects found in the main asteroid belt. In this article, the term "asteroid" refers to the minor planets of the inner Solar System, including those co-orbital with Jupiter.

42 Isis main-belt asteroid

Isis is a large main-belt asteroid, measuring 100.2 km in diameter. It was discovered by N.R. Pogson on May 23, 1856, at Oxford. It was Pogson's first asteroid discovery.

When her father became director of the Madras Observatory in Madras, India, in October 1860, he travelled to his new post with his first wife and three [4] of his 11 [2] children, including Isis. His wife died in 1869, and he relied upon Isis to look after his other children. [6] She also worked in India as her father's assistant. [5] She was given the post of computer at the observatory in 1873 with the salary of 150 rupees, [6] [7] equivalent to a "cook or coach-man", [5] and worked there for 25 years until she retired with a pension of 250 rupees [6] in 1898, when the observatory closed. She served as the meteorological superintendent and reporter for the Madras government from 1881. [1] [8]

Madras Observatory observatory

The Madras Observatory was an astronomical observatory which had its origins in a private observatory set up by William Petrie in 1786 and later moved and managed by the British East India Company from 1792 in Madras. The main purpose for establishing it was to assist in navigation and mapping by recording the latitude and maintaining time standards. In later years the observatory also made observations on stars and geomagnetism. The observatory ran from around 1792 to 1931 and a major work was the production of a comprehensive catalogue of stars.

Chennai Megacity in Tamil Nadu, India

Chennai, also known as Madras, is the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, it is the biggest cultural, economic and educational centre of south India. According to the 2011 Indian census, it is the sixth-most populous city and fourth-most populous urban agglomeration in India. The city together with the adjoining regions constitute the Chennai Metropolitan Area, which is the 36th-largest urban area by population in the world. Chennai is among the most-visited Indian cities by foreign tourists. It was ranked the 43rd-most visited city in the world for the year 2015. The Quality of Living Survey rated Chennai as the safest city in India. Chennai attracts 45 percent of health tourists visiting India, and 30 to 40 percent of domestic health tourists. As such, it is termed "India's health capital". As a growing metropolitan city in a developing country, Chennai confronts substantial pollution, as well as other logistical and socio-economic problems.

India Country in South Asia

India, officially the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

Fellowship of the Royal Astronomical Society

Pogson was the first woman to attempt to be elected a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, being nominated (unsuccessfully) by her father in 1886. [5] Although the society had elected a few women as honorary members, all the fellows had been male up to this time. Her nomination was withdrawn when two attorneys deemed female fellows illegal under the provisions of the society's royal charter dating from 1831, which referred to fellows only as he. [9] [10] She was successfully nominated in 1920 by Oxford professor H. H. Turner, five years after the Royal Astronomical Society first opened its doors to women. [6] [11] [12]

Herbert Hall Turner FRS was a British astronomer and seismologist.


After retiring from astronomy, she married Herbert Clement Kent, a captain in the Merchant Navy, [6] on 17 August 1902 in Red Hill, Queensland, Australia. [1] The couple returned to England, living in Bournemouth and then London. Pogson died in Croydon. [6]

Red Hill, Queensland Suburb of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Red Hill is an inner suburb of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) north-west of the Brisbane CBD. The suburb is one of the oldest in Brisbane. Red Hill got its name as a description from the steep hills which had lots of red soil and rocks.

Bournemouth Town in England

Bournemouth is a coastal resort town on the south coast of England, east of the 96-mile-long (155 km) Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site. At the 2011 census, the town had a population of 183,491, making it the largest in the administrative county of Dorset. It is in the historic county of Hampshire. With Poole to the west and Christchurch in the east, Bournemouth is part of the South East Dorset conurbation, which has a population of 465,000.

Croydon town in South London, England

Croydon is a large town in south London, England, 9.4 miles (15.1 km) south of Charing Cross. The principal settlement in the London Borough of Croydon, it is one of the largest commercial districts outside Central London, with an extensive shopping district and night-time economy.

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