NEWS: Thomas Harriot and Telescope400


8th October 2009: A&G magazine (News and Reviews in Astronomy and Geophysics) published an article on Telescope400, in their October edition. A PDF copy can be seen by clicking here.

9th September: This website serves as part of the legacy to Thomas Harriot, and although the main event has now run, most of it will be kept in place until at least the end of IYA 2009. However, the discussion forum has now closed and is no longer available.

26th July: Telescope400 ran! You can see a short report by clicking our link Account of the day. There was also an account of the day on the TW8 website Photographs of the day can be seen in our Photo Gallery.

25th July: BBC Radio 4 (Today) ran an item about Thomas Harriot and the 400th Anniversary of Telescope400, in which Telescope400 was mentioned. Click to listen.

23rd July: A new Science Museum Exhibition has just opened, entitled "Cosmos and Culture: How Astronomy has shaped our world". This features some of Harriot's drawings. Details are on the Science Museum Web Site

23rd July: "What would Harriot Tweet". The UK IYA organisation sponsored a competition, and entrants were asked to guess "What would Harriot Tweet" just after he made the first ever moon observations. There were many entries and several winners will now be getting tickets to the Telescope 400 event as well as a copy of Geoff Burt's "New Moone Catalogue". The winning tweets and the results are now published on the IYA Web site - click here

14th July: The Podcast, produced by the Telescope400 team about Thomas Harriot is now live on Much of this was recorded on location at Syon Park, and you can listen to it at

24th June: We've published a commercial on YouTube at
You are welcome to link to this commercial.

17th June: The flyer for the event is published as a PDF. You can download a copy - click here. (large file).

Circle shows new sunspot forming. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot forming

16th June: Where have the sunspots gone? Thomas Harriot made at least 200 observations of sunspots between 1610 and 1613. But will we see any on July 26th this year when we gather at Syon Park to celebrate 400 years of the astronomical use of the telescope? We are in the most protracted spell of solar inactivity since the minimum of 1913. See this Guardian article to learn more. By the way, Harriot didn’t use a telescope to view our star – he peered at it through the Thames mist, foolishly trusting that this would act as a filter, and protect his eyesight. In July we will use solar telescopes to see what is happening on the Sun.

15th June: The July edition of Astronomy Now magazine, about to be published, contains an article entitled "Harriot's Moone Catalogue" by Geoff Burt, one of the organisers of Telescope400.

12th June: The Telescope400 team has just produced a Podcast about Thomas Harriot and Telescope400. This podcast will be available on from 14th July onwards. Much of this was recorded on location at Syon Park.

May 5th: Quatercentenary Lecture and Reception, 26th July, 17:30: Tickets are now on sale at £20 each. Full details of how to purchase tickets are to be found under the Reception/Lecture link.

April 6th 2009: Complete Programme published. This is now published under link  Detailed Programme and contains times, details and locations of all the events and activites.

6th Feb 2009. New article on Harriot: The February edition of A&G (News and Reviews in Astronomy and Geophysics) has published an excellent article on Harriot by Dr Allan Chapman. A copy is here

23 Jan 2009. Need copies and publishing rights for Thomas Harriot's picture and drawings? (we've been asked a number of times how to do this) Please note that Robin Scagell of the Galaxy Picture Library has agreements with Lord Egremont and Trinity College, Oxford, to make this a quick process for the media. There is normally a reproduction fee involved. See here.

21 Jan 2009: The Scientifc American web site ran a short item on Thomas Harriot which actually links to the Telescope400 web site. See here.

14 Jan 2009 Harriot Podcast: Listen to Allan Chapman talk about Thomas Harriot in a podcast available here as part of the IYA initiative

14 Jan 2009: There was much media interest in Thomas Harriot at the time that RAS Press Information note PN 09/2 was distributed. This included:

  • The 8am BBC Radio 4 news had a brief item announcing that Harriot was the first person to observe the moon through a telescope, including a short interview with Allan Chapman.
  • A longer item on Radio 4 at 1 pm covered similar ground, and a Radio 5 live item at 06:57 included an interview with Dr Robert Massey discussing Harriot..
  • An item on BBC web site here discusses Harriot and his papers kept at the West Sussex Record Office[1]. See
  • Daily Mail article: "The 17th-century drawings which prove a humble Englishman mapped the moon BEFORE Galileo". See here.
  • DailyTelegraph article: "Briton drew pictures of the moon before Galileo". See here.
  • article: "History Corrected by 400-year-old Moon Map". See here.

5 Jan 2009: Sky at Night covers Harriot. Entitled "Light Fantastic" Sky at Night on BBC1 covered the development of the telescope over 400 years and Harriot received good coverage. See Sky At Night website.

5 Jan 2009: Evening Standard first newspaper off the mark with article headlined "Heavens above, Galileo was beaten by a Londoner" The article can be viewed here.

Dec 2008: Astrofest 2009 to feature talk on Harriot by Allan Chapman. Oxford academic Dr Allan Chapman will be speaking about Harriot at Astrofest 2009. Amateur astronomers going to Astrofest may want to attend. The talk is on 7th February (Saturday) at 16:50.

1 - West Sussex Record Office, 3 Orchard Street, Chichester, West Sussex. Tel 01243 777100

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