Universe Puzzle No. 6

Article written: 22 Mar , 2010
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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As with last week’s Universe Puzzle, something that cannot be answered by five minutes spent googling, a puzzle that requires you to cudgel your brains a bit, and do some lateral thinking. This is a puzzle on a “Universal” topic – astronomy and astronomers; space, satellites, missions, and astronauts; planets, moons, telescopes, and so on.

Name three well-known astronomers – or physicists whose work contributed to astronomy – and whose names are constellations. For a gold star, say why your three are more prize-worthy than anyone else’s!

UPDATE: Answer has been posted below.

There are no prizes for the first correct answer – there may not even be just one correct answer – posted as a comment (the judge’s decision – mine! – will be final), but I do hope that you’ll have lots of fun.

Hon. Salacious B. Crumb, Charles A. Musca, David Virgo, and V.R. Phoenix are indeed possible answers, but they are not particularly well-known. You definitely get an extra point for going to “defunct constellations”, but it is creativity too far.

Navneeth, Leó Szilárd (Leo) is an excellent answer!

renoor, Francis Drake (Draco) is a wonderful, left-field answer!

Gadi Eidelheit, Henrietta SWAN Levitt (Cygnus) is good, not least because I had that on my list. And LEOnard Euler is also excellent! However, you get only half marks for Maximillian WOLF (Vulpecula) – Vulpecula is ‘Fox’; Lupus is ‘Wolf’; and no marks for Charles Augustione de COLUMBO (you mean Charles Augustin de Coulomb; the constellation Columba, the Dove, is not related to Coulomb).

In addition to Henrietta Swan Levitt (Cygnus), I had the following:
* William Swan (he left his name in astronomical spectroscopy, google Swan bands)
* Bill Keel (Carina; Bill is extremely active in his support of amateurs, Galaxy Zoo, etc, etc – ‘ngc3314’ is his handle – and also has done excellent work on dust in spiral galaxies)
* Arthur Wolfe (Lupus; his name is in the cosmologically important Sachs-Wolfe effect)
* Tim Hunter (Orion; co-founded the International Dark Sky Association, in 1987)
* Charles Wolf (Lupus again; together with Georges Rayet he discovered the Wolf-Rayet stars)

Check back next week for another Universe Puzzle!


12 Responses

  1. Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

    Charles A. Musca (telescope detectors)
    V.R. Phoenix (nanotechnology and astrobiology)

    However, the most popular constellation name is Virgo

    David Virgo is the most famous, as he did examination of the Apollo moon rocks.Draco

    However, this is a trick question… because it must include defunct constellations too

    Custos Messium was for Charles Messier
    Telecopium Herchelium (now Telescopium) after William Herschel
    Octans Hadleianus after (now Octans) John Hadley (all astronomers)

    Is SIX good enough???

    Now I am probably more worthy for the prize, because here in UT, I likely have the biggest ego!! Yeah, baby!

  2. Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

    …the last comment is meant to be a joke (I hope!) Gulp! 🙂

  3. Richard Kirk says

    Antila (the air pump) I thought was Otto von Guericke’s air-pump (the Magdeburg hemispheres guy). However, after a quick search (mostly to find out how to spell ‘Guericke’) I find it is now supposed to be Robert Hooke’s air-pump.

    If we are looking for scientific apparatus, there is fornax (a chemical furnace), microscopium, sextans and telescopium, and there is probably more that I have forgotten, but I don’t know they belong to anyone in particular.

    Oh, there’s also horologium. That’s Huygen’s pendulum clock. Forgot that. So there’s two inventors..

    There’s a compass or something down there somewhere too, but I don’t think that belongs to anyone.

    Right, I am going to guess that the telescope is Galileo’s telescope, so I have got three – Hooke, Huygens, and Galileo (guessing) without Google.

  4. Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

    Richard Kirk said;
    “Oh, there’s also horologium. That’s Huygen’s pendulum clock. Forgot that. So there’s two inventors..”

    Horologium was actually known as “Horologium Oscillatorium” -pendulum clock, but as far as I know, La Caille just named it to honor Christiaan Huygens. (its name was never known as the Latinised “Horologium Huyganius”)

    If any southern constellation honoured was done by La Caille, who instruments he placed in the sky were related to his heroes who used them.

  5. Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

    Oh. I should have said. I didn’t know about the story of Antlia (and I’m please you looked up the name, saved me too!), but I did know it was formally named “Antlia Pneumatica.”

  6. Navneeth says

    Leó Szilárd – Nuclear chain reaction. Seriously — do you need a reason why he is better than the best others come up with?

    Ercole Dembowski: Ercole is the Italian form of the name Hercules. The man spent a lot of time observing double and multiple stars; received a gold medal from the RAS; and a crater on the Moon and an asteroid are named after him. What more could you ask for?

    Well, that’s two…

  7. Navneeth says

    Ooh, ooh…Galileo! The name of the constellation of satellites being built by the EU as a counterpart to the US GPS.

  8. renoor says

    @Navneeth: that’s brilliant 😀

    I would add Draco – Francis Drake

  9. Member
    Gadi Eidelheit says

    Hi All.
    I found these
    Henrietta SWAN levitt – I think she is the MOST important one dinfind the standard candles!
    Also
    Maximillian WOLF (Vulpecula) – Respobsilbe for the discovery of hundreds of Asteroids through photgraphy

    LEOnard Euler – The prince of mathematician. Who can be more importan than him!

    Charles Augustione de COLUMBO – Lot sof contirbution to the electromagnetic force

    I think that mine are best especilly due toHenrietta.

    I would not consider the GAllileo satellite as a constellation (Altough the term is used for groups of satellite). It is a creatiuve solution but not one I would accept.

    Gadi
    Visit my blog
    http://gadieide.blogspot.com
    Or if you read Hebrew (Or want to see how it look with translator)
    http://gadieid.blogspot.com

  10. Member
    Gadi Eidelheit says

    Sorry for all typos from previous comment.

    I found these
    Henrietta SWAN Levitt – I think she is the MOST important one defined the standard candles!
    Also
    Maximillian WOLF (Vulpecula) – Responsible for the discovery of hundreds of Asteroids through photography
    LEOnard Euler – The prince of mathematician. Who can be more important than him!
    Charles Augustione de COLUMBO – Lots of contribution to the electromagnetic force
    I think that mine are best especially due to Henrietta.
    I would not consider the Galileo satellite as a constellation (Although the term is used for groups of satellite). It is a creative solution but not one I would accept.

  11. Navneeth says

    Gadi Eidelheit, Galileo is, in fact, a group of satellites — or at least it will be when all of them are launched. (Not to be confused with the spacecraft that visited and later plunged into Jupiter.) As I said, it is similar to American-based GPS. A single satellite will not be all that useful for accurate navigational information, would it?

    http://www.esa.int/esaNA/GGGMX650NDC_galileo_0.html

    renoor, I’m glad you think so. 😉

  12. Hon. Salacious B. Crumb says

    I agree with all you say in the answer, but I do think Dr. David Virgo has to be one on top of the hit list. He did so much work on the Apollo moon missions, at the Washington Geophysical Laboratory, and was quite instrumental in the chemical examination of the rocks from the Moon. I do remember him because he unravel the early igneous / volcanic history of the Moon. He was a genius at petrology (structure and composition of rocks), and produced the applications of the interiors of the Earth, the planets and moons. He retired in 1999.

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