Australia - 100 dollar

Australia - 100 dollar - 1984 - P48

The back of this 100 dollar banknote from Australia shows the astronomer John Tebbutt and his observatory. John Tebbutt (1834-1916) was an Australian astronomer, credited with discovering the "Great Comet of 1861" (C/1861 J1).

Tebbutt was born at Windsor, New South Wales, the only son of John Tebbutt, then a prosperous store keeper. Tebbutt's father had retired from store keeping about the year 1843 , purchased a tract of land at the eastern end of the town of Windsor known as the peninsula, and built a residence there. This became the site of the observatory built by his son, who at 19 years of age had begun his observations of the heavens with an ordinary marine telescope and a sextant. 

About nine years later, on 13 May 1861, Tebbutt discovered the 1861 comet, one of the most brilliant comets known. There was no means then of telegraphing the intelligence to England where it became visible on 29 June. Tebbutt was acknowledged as the first discoverer of this comet, and the first computer of its approximate orbit. In 1864 he built, with his own hands, a small observatory close to his father's residence, and installed his instruments consisting of his 3¼-inch telescope, a two-inch transit instrument, and an eight day half-seconds box-chronometer. 

A branch of the British Astronomical Association was established at Sydney in 1895 and Tebbutt was elected its first president. In 1904 in his seventieth year he discontinued systematic work, though he retained his interest in astronomy and continued to do some observing, and in the following year the Royal Astronomical Society of London recognised his work by awarding him the Jackson-Gwilt Medal of the society.

In 1908, Tebbutt published his Astronomical Memoirs, giving an account of his 54 years' work, and he was much gratified in 1914, during the visit of the British association, by a visit to his observatory of a small party of astronomers. He died at Windsor on 29 November 1916.

An artist's impression of the Great Comet:

Steven Sunday 01 December 2013 at 4:19 pm | | space
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