What Planets were seen from Titanic


Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Does anyone know which planets couold have been seen from the Titanic during the sinking? I read a website (can't remember which one, which says that Jupiter could have been seen on the starboard quarter, while the Titanic pointed North).

I did a bit of work on
http://www.fourmilab.ch/yoursky/help/telcontrols.html

and calculated a skymap, showing that only three planets could have been seen (well, one (Mars) - Pluto and Neptune were too far away) due West above the Horizon at midnight.

Can anyone add to this debate?

Best wishes

Paul
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Just remembered that the website was Dave Gittin's.... I would attach the skymap I "created" thanks to the on-line utility, but the "Upload Attachment" feature here doesn't work for me
sad.gif
 
K

Kathy A. Miles

Guest
Paul, I did a sky map for the time and date of Titanic, if you still need it, I'll try and find it or generate another. I do know there was also a meteor shower taking place (lots of people commented on never having seen so many meteors.) But the Lyriad shower happens that time every year, when I watch it, I always think of Titanic. There was also a nice article done in Astronomy magazine about the astronomical aspects relating to Titanic. I may have a copy of that around too if you are want it. Being an astronomer, I have special interest there!
Cheers,
Kathy
 
Mar 22, 2003
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www.titanicology.com
Paul: At the time Titanic sank, 02:20 15 Apr 1912, the only planets visible to the naked eye were Jupiter just rising in the ESE (122 deg) about 2 deg above the horizon, and Mars setting in the WNW (290 deg) about 15 deg above the horizon. Neptune and Pluto were also above the horizon at that time, with Pluto just below Mars and neptune somewhat above and more to the west. But obviously, only Jupiter and Mars would have been visible to the naked eye. Two hours later and only Jupiter was up in the SE (at 145 deg) and 18 deg above the horizon.

There is a shareware program that I downloaded called CyberSky that I use for these things. Try http://www.softcities.com/CyberSky/download/310.htm.
 

Paul Lee

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Hi all,
Kathy> Yes, I'd love to see your sky map if possible!

Samuel> As Capt.Smith once said "My God, you are right!"... yes, that website I mentioned show that Jupiter was a few degrees above the horizon. One reason why I am interested is because one theory is that a planet might have confused people on the Titanic, or in the lifeboats that other ships were in the vicinity.
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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David Gittin's website at:
(well worth a look by the way!) says that the "planet" was seen by Rowe and Smith off the Starboard Quarter at 1.00am...well before Jupiter was supposed to have risen, but in the right hypothesised location.

Best wishes

Paul
 
A

Allison Tunick

Guest
Paul, Kathy, Sam, and all who are interested in the view of the sky on that fateful night:

We will be examining this issue at our Titanic Symposium, April 23 to 25, at Maine Maritime Academy.
(see “Titanic Symposium” thread in “Let’s Meet” https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/discus/messages/5677/79976.html?1074915451)

Our planetarium will be set up to replicate the night sky. We’ll be able to see the sky as Titanic passengers saw it.
I hope you can join us.

Cheers,
Allison
 

Paul Lee

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Aug 11, 2003
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Hi Allison,
Welcome to E-T!
Sadly, I can't make it, being stranded in England
happy.gif

However, it would be wonderful if you could confirm the Jupiter Rising phenomena as noted above!
happy.gif


Best wishes

Paul
 
Jul 7, 2002
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Kathy,

I'm interested in your sky map and the Astronomy magazine article!

Allison, I'm looking forward to the symposium and seeing what the sky looked like that night.

Best wishes,

Cathy
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Samuel, if you go to the "Let's Meet" folder, then scroll down to and click on the Titanic Symposium thread, you'll see a preliminary agenda is already there. I'll add the caveat that I'm using the term "preliminary" because with the meet still three months away, there's always the possibility that it could be amended to deal with anything else of interest.

Since this event is being hosted by Captain Charles Weeks, he's the best one to ask about that.
 

Dave Gittins

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Mar 16, 2000
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It's not the planets that interest me. However, I'm quite convinced that at least one star, maybe two, deceived those in the lifeboats into thinking they were ships' lights.

When you lucky people run your simulation in the planetarium, watch Capella during the latter stages of the sinking. It gives a good impersonation of the stern light of a departing ship, a bit NW of Titanic's port bow. At least some of those in the boats thought they were rowing for a star and I'll bet that star was Capella. Given that observers were cold, frightened and that it was very dark, the star could easily be taken for a sternlight.

Bruce Ismay reported a light off Titanic's starboard bow. He thought it was on a ship but it gradually disappeared as morning approached. It may well have been Mirfak, which, while not as bright as Capella, would have shown up quite well on the very dark night.
 
K

Kathy A. Miles

Guest
I've found that article from Astronomy magazine on line at :
http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Hangar/7574/astro1.htm

In the star map I generated for 11:40 their time, I've got Jupiter rising in the south east, and Mars low in the northwest soon to be setting. There are also a few bright stars close to the horizon. I see Capella, further north of Mars, and I see Procyon almost due west and close to the horizon. I also find it interesting that Antares is rising, low in the southeast. Antares is a ruddy red colour and quite bright. I could see them mistaking Antares for a port light on a ship.

Also, as I said my map was for 11:40, and Jupiter was already just above the horizon so at least according to my map, that 1:40am rising time is wrong.

I won't be able to make that meeting, but I ran a planetarium for over ten years and did the Titanic sky show a few times. It was fun.

I can send the map to anyone who wants it.

Cheers,
Kathy
 
May 9, 2000
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Hi one more time,

for making things easier: just click on this link. The 1912 Titanic sky chart will appear. Now you can change hour for hour (fields are below the map) and see how the stars and planets were changing during the night.

I have set the time Kathy has given for the Jupiter rising (11.40):

http://www.heavens-above.com/etc.

Kathy is right: Jupiter rising is at exactly this time at the south eastern horizon, Mars is to be seen close to the western horizon (soon disappearing).

Best regards
Henning

P.S.:
"heavens-above.com" is one of my most favorite pages in the web. In my account I have fixed some locations (like the Titanic as well)
 

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