Saturday, 16 December 2017

Jove Bless Thee Master Parson

In Twelfth Night Act IV, Scene 2 Sir Toby says "Jove bless thee Master Parson". Of course the parson is actually the fool Feste in disguise but the expression is spoken sincerely all the same.  Malvolio refers to Jove five times in the play. Malvolio is either a puritan, or someone who wishes to appear that he is a puritan, so he uses Jove to express a higher authority to avoid blasphemy. This was very common in Shakespeare's time and Jove was widely used in everyday conversation.  In Trolius and Cresida Act IV, Scene 1 a similar expression is used by Diomedes "Jove bless thee Ajax".  Jove here is of course Jovis or Jupiter.
December 16th was a cold frosty morning with a clear sky. Jupiter, Mars and Spica formed a line in the Southeastern sky before dawn. I took the photo below with my Canon Ixus with no additional optical magnification.

Through my Tudor telescope I first focused on Mars which appeared as a tiny pink ball in the sky. 
In Henry Vth Shakespeare writes in the Act 1 Prologue that "Then should the warlike Harry, like himself. Assume the port of Mars". Port here means comportment or demeanour so in a very few words Shakespeare has established that King Henry Vth has his mind set on war with France. Mars was the Roman god of war which would have been commonly known in the Tudor period. 
Next I focused the Tudor Telescope on Jupiter. In the telescope mirror I could see Jupiter as a small disk with two bright spots on the right hand side. By massively overexposing Jupiter I obtained the image below.
Unfortunately Io and Europa were superimposed and also Ganymede and Callisto as well so although I could see two bright spots I was unable to establish how many moons these corresponded to. The positions of Jupiter's Moons are given on the shallowsky website  (see and the calculated positions are a good match to my first image obtained about 06:50am on December 16th. Jupiter will be in the morning sky for a few more weeks to come so I will try again if there is another clear morning sky.   Galileo's second telescope had a magnification of 6X and he was able to see all four of Jupiter's large moons. The truth is they can be seen through virtually any telescope even one that only cost 1 penny (see so it is not really a surprise that they can be seen with my Tudor telescope.  Had Leonard Digges or Thomas Harriot turned their telescope towards Jupiter in the Tudor period they would have seen Jupiter's moons as well. We don't know if they did or not but Galileo certainly did so and he wrote his findings in his pamphlet "Sidereus Nuncius" which revolutionised astronomy.  

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