• Corpus ID: 129940114

The M51 mystery: Lord Rosse, Robinson, South and the discovery of spiral structure in 1845

  title={The M51 mystery: Lord Rosse, Robinson, South and the discovery of spiral structure in 1845},
  author={Wolfgang H Steinicke},
  journal={Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage},
  • W. Steinicke
  • Published 1 March 2012
  • Physics
  • Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage
In April 1845 Lord Rosse discovered the spiral structure of M51 with his 72-inch reflector at Birr Castle. Already in March the new telescope had been pointed at the object in Canes Venatici, later nicknamed the ‘Whirlpool Nebula’. Two experienced astronomers were present: Sir James South and the Reverend Thomas Romney Robinson. The problem is that there is no record that they noticed the spiral structure, even though it was immediately seen by Lord Rosse the next month. The solution presented… 

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