Local Newspaper Report

written by Mike Lewis

General Information

These reports appear in the last Thursday of the month (before our monthly meeting held on the first Thursday of the month) editions of the 'Clacton and Frinton Gazette' and the 'Harwich and Manningtree Standard' in their 'Neighbourhood News' sections

The Outer Planets of the Solar System

by Special Guest Speaker Jerry Workman

6th July 2017

The early Voyager missions to the outer planets led to close encounters of the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. An early ground base observation of Uranus was by William Herschel in March 1781 who noticed an object whkch moved on the background of the stars. Later planetary probes found rings and moons around Uranus each with different features. Observations by John Couch Adams in the mid 1840s found Neptune because Uranus was being pulled out of position, and predictions were made using new star charts which led to its discovery. Like other outer planets space probes found Neptune had a ring system and many different moons.

In the early 1900s Uranus and Neptune were found not to be in their predicted positions and a search was started for planet X which was eventually discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh and named Pluto.

One of the latest probes, New Horizon, did a fly past of Pluto in 2015 obtaining some very detailed images of the surface and its moons. This probe is now going on to explore objects in the Kuiper Belt.