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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

164) The "25 Euro Silver-Niobium Coin Series": (vii) 2003 onwards minted by the Austrian Mint: Seventh Coin in the Series: “The International Year of Astronomy” (2009):

164) The "25 Euro Silver-Niobium Coin Series": (vii) 2003 onwards minted by the Austrian Mint by using Niobium and Niobium metal insertion technology for the first time anywhere in the World of Numismatics:

Seventh Coin in the Series: “The International Year of Astronomy” (2009):

In 1609, the Mathematician and Astronomer Galileo Galilei first observed the moon through a telescope.

Galileo’s historical viewing of the moon’s surface through his telescope in 1609 and his astounding discoveries/observations that changed mankind’s concept of the Earth in relation to the Universe forever, the mountains and craters on the Moon, a plethora of stars invisible to the naked eye and moons around  Jupiter etc.

On the 400th Anniversary of the first recorded astronomical observations with a telescope by Galileo, as well as, to commemorate the publication of Johannes Kepler’s “Astronomia nova” in the 17th century, the year 2009 was declared the “International Year of Astronomy” by the United Nations Organisation (UNO), which was co-ordinated by the “International Astronomical Union” (IAU) and also endorsed by  UNESCO (the UNO group which is responsible for educational, scientific and cultural initiatives.

The focus of this initiative was to provide an opportunity to ordinary laypersons to gain a deeper insight into astronomy’s role in enriching all human cultures.

At the same time it educated the public about significant astronomical discoveries across time. The aim was primarily to help people rediscover their place in the Universe through the sky and thereby feel a personal sense of wonder and discovery.

The Galilean Telescope:

Interestingly, in September 1608, it was Hans Lippershey, a young spectacle maker from Middelburg demonstrated one of his inventions to the Dutch Government, which was a telescope, and although he was not awarded the patent, Galileo heard about this telescope in June 1609, seized upon this initiative to build a gadget similar to the “Dutch Perspective Glass” (as Lippershey’s invention was called) within a month and greatly improved the design in the following year. He observed the sky through his own telescope.

Other persons to whom the credit of development of the telescope goes to are Zacharias Janssen who was also a spectacle maker in Middleburg and Jacob Metius of Alkmaar.

The design which Galileo used in 1609 is commonly called a “Galilean telescope. It used a convergent (plano-convex) objective lens and a divergent (Plano-concave eye-piece lens in 1610). A Galilean telescope had no intermediary focus and resulted in a non-inverted and upright image. Galileo’s best telescopes magnified objects some 30 times. Because of the flaws in its design, such as the shape of the lens and the narrow field of view, the images were blurred and distorted, nevertheless, the Galilean telescopes were good enough to explore the sky.

The word “telescope” comes from the Greek word “teleskopos”  meaning “far” (for “tele”) and “to look or see” (for “skopien”). This term was coined by the Greek Mathematician Giovanni Demisiani for one of Galileo Galilei’s instruments which was presented at a banquet at the Accademia dei Lincei. Interestingly, in an article in the “Starry Messenger” Galileo himself had used the term “perspicillium” for his gadget.

Galileo’s astronomical discoveries, among others, left a lasting legacy, which included studying the Earth’s moon’s craters and viewing the phases of Venus, as well as, the lasting categorisation of the four large moons of Jupiter discovered by him – Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto as the Galilean moons.

 Galileo had a run-in with the Catholic Church, which baulked his research/discoveries at every stage and put a spanner into Galileo publishing his findings by placing his publications on the “List of Prohibited Books”, confiscating papers on his findings and suspecting him of “heresies” sentencing him by Inquisition to imprisonment   and placing him under house arrest. Had the Church left him alone, perhaps, he would have enriched human civilisation with more fascinating discoveries during his time. The Church had to “reassess” Galileo in the later centuries and in 1939, Pope Pius XII in his first speech to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences held Galileo as being among the “most audacious heroes of research who was not afraid of the stumbling blocks and the risks on the way, nor fearful of the funereal moments”.

Some Programmes organised during the “International Year of Astronomy” – 2009:

The Galileoscope: This was a fixed duration world-wide Astronomy event of four days (2-5 April 2009), where the programme shared personal experiences of practical astronomical observations with as many people as possible across the world. The focus was on developing a simple, easy to assemble and easy to use telescope that could be distributed to millions of persons, and which aimed to provide every participant world-wide with one of these little telescopes to take home, enabling them to observe the moon  and other celestial bodies with an instrument similar to the one developed by Galileo.

The Galileoscope was a small mass-produced refracter telescope, designed with the intention of increasing public interest in astronomy and science. It was meant as an inexpensive means through which millions of persons across the globe could view the same celestial objects seen by Galileo such as the craters on the Earth’s moon, four of Jupiters moons and the Pleiades.

Some other programmes: also held during this period were – 100 hours of Astronomy (to have as many people throughout the world to look through a telescope just as Galileo did for the first time 400 years ago), the Cosmic Diary (which focussed on what it was like to be an astronomer), The Portal to the Universe (this provided a global, one-stop portal for online astronomy related contents serving as a social networking site for astronomy content providers, lay-persons, educators and scientists etc), She is an astronomer (a project to provide astronomy related information to female professional and amateur astronomers, students and enthusiasts), Dark Skies Awareness (culminating in the form of “star hunts” or “star counts” for providing people with a fun way to become increasingly aware about light pollution through first hand observations of the night sky, Astronomy & World heritage (for establishing a link between science and culture and scientific values of properties connected with Astronomy), Galilean nights (a programme to involve amateur and professional astronomers world-wide to take to train their telescopes at the night sky much in the manner of Galileo 400 years ago with a special focus on Jupiter and its moons, the Sun, the Moon etc.) the Galileo Teacher Training Programme, among other initiatives.

The 2009 “25 Euro Silver-Niobium Coin”:

The Commemorative coin titled “ Coin of the Year of Astronomy”:

This coin is titled “Munze Zum Jahr der Astronomie” (meaning “Coin of the Year of Astronomy”) and commemorates the “International Year of Astronomy” (2009). It also commemorates the 400th anniversary of the invention of Galileo’s telescope.
 The Obverse of the coin depicts the surface of the moon. A satellite is shown orbiting the moon, while the outer silver ring shows the planet Earth on the left periphery, partially covered by the Moon and a stylised Sun illuminating the heavens which figures towards the right lower Periphery of the coin. On the upper to right Periphery is mentioned the name of the country “Republik Ostereich” (meaning the “Republic of Austria”). On the lower silver Periphery is mentioned the denomination of the coin “25 Euro”. On the right hand side of the Niobium core is mentioned “ruckseite des mondes” (meaning “Back of the Moon”).

The dark side of the moon was, however, beyond Galileo’s means of observation.

The colour of the Niobium insert in this coin is golden yellow.
 The Reverse of the coin shows a portion of Galileo’s portrait and his telescope. The background shows one of his first drawings of the surface of the moon which provides the background to his portrait.

 In the silver ring around the Niobium core are shown the development of the telescopes spanning from Galileo’s telescope to the Isaac Newton Telescope, the Observatory in Kremsmunster Abbey, a modern telescope, a radio telescope and a space telescope. One can also see an image of the Sun, as well as, a planet, depicting mankind’s ability to observe the celestial orbs and to study the mysteries of the Universe, thanks to the range of telescopes at its disposal over the centuries.

On the lower Periphery of the coin is mentioned the year “1609” (i.e. the year Galileo first observed the moon’s surface through his newly designed telescope), while on the upper Periphery is mentioned the year “2009” (which corresponds to the 400th Anniversary of Galileo’s first observation of the moon’s surface through his telescope and which was also designated as the “International Year of Astronomy).

On the Niobium core is mentioned “Jahr der ostronomi” (meaning the “Year of Astronomy”).
The specifications of the coin are:

Face value: 25 Euros; Metallic composition: Outer ring: Silver (Ag) 900 – 9 gms, Niobium 998 – 6.50 gms; Diameter: 34 mm; Weight: 16.50 gms; Edge: smooth.

The mintage of this coin was limited to a maximum of 65000 pieces.

Isaac Newton Telescope:

Isaac Newton was an English physicist and mathematician, known as a “natural philosopher” who was one of the most influential scientist of all time and a key figure in the “scientific revolution”. His book “Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica” (meaning “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”) published in 1687, laid the foundations for classical mechanics. His laws of motion and universal gravitation have been followed by scientists over the centuries. Using the same principles, he explained the trajectories of comets, tides, the precession of the equinoxes etc. He contributed hugely to optics and the development of the calculus and formulated an empirical law of cooling, studied the speed of sound and developed a theory of colour based on the observation that a prism decomposes light into the many colours of the visible spectrum.

He is credited with having built the first practical reflecting telescope.

In his honour, a project called the “Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes” was started in 1984, with the relocating of the Isaac Newton Telescope, an optical telescope from Herstmonceux Castle in Sussex, England, which was the site of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, (where this telescope was located since 1967) to Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands. This was necessitated due to sound/light pollution in Greenwich. This telescope is now a member of the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes.

In addition to the Isaac Newton Telescope, this Group operates the William Herschel Telescope, and Jacobus Kapteyn Telescope, optical telescopes for the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NOW) and the “Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias” (IAC – which is an astrophysical Research Institute located in the Canary Islands). The telescopes are all located at Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands.

Observatory in Kremsmunster Abbey:

Kremsmunster Abbey (“Stift Kremsmunster” in German) is a Benedictine monastery in Kremsmunster in Upper Austria. It was set up in 777 AD by Tassilo III, Duke of Bavaria. The Abbey had a famous library and an observatory. The observatory was built by Alexander Fixlmillner (1731-1759), an abbot at the monastery whose nephew Placidus Fixlmillner was the first astronomer to compute the orbit of Uranus and later became the Director of the observatory.

The South Wing of the Kremsmunster observatory houses among other places, the Mathematical Tower which is 51 metres high where the observatory is located – the Kremsmunster Sternwarte. The observatory is eight stories high and contains an assorted collection of objects of natural history.

Modern Telescope:

The original telescopes were “Refractor style” gadgets which consisted of a single long tube through which the light passed down in a straight line to the eye-piece. Telescopes have come a long way in both design and technology since those early years. Today the most modern telescopes are computerised and the image can be viewed on the computer screen. Many telescopes are also computer controlled so that one can move and save co-ordinates in the computer, or take a photo or a video, for later references. These modern telescopes are based on a Catadioptrics design which was developed by the German Bernhard Schmidt, based on a combination of refractor and reflector telescopes. This design can be used in small as well as professional Observatory models. The Modern Telescope gathers light through its front objective lens, focussing this light and then the eyepiece magnifies the image or light to the size of the observer’s pupil affording a pupil size image of the viewed object.

Radio Telescope:

A Radio telescope is a form of directional radio antenna used in radio Astronomy. The same types of antennae are used for tracking and collecting data from satellites and space probes. The Radio telescopes operate in the radio frequency portion of the electromagnetic spectrum where they can detect and collect data on radio sources. Radio telescopes are mostly large parabolic “dish” antennae used singly or in array.

Radio observatories are generally located away from populated places so as to avoid electromagnetic interference (EMI) from Radio, Television, Radar and other EMI emitting devices. Also, they are mostly located in valleys etc. to avoid such EMI.

3 space based radiotelescopes have been sent to space – Zond 3 (sent by USSR in 1965), HALCA (sent by Japan in 1997) and Spektr-R (sent by Russia in 2011).

On Earth, a radiotelescope having a 100 meter diameter antenna in Effelsberg, Germany, Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, USA, the 76 metre Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, England, 70 metre telescopes – 3 Russian RT-70 and 3 in the Godstone network, most of which are fully steerable are some of the largest in the World.

Many astronomical objects are not only observable in visible light but also emit radiation at radio wavelengths. Besides observing energy emitting objects like pulsars and quasars, radio telescopes can “image” most astronomical objects like galaxies, nebulae and radio emissions from planets.

Space Telescope:

In 1946, the US theoretical astrophysicist Lyman Spitzer was the first to conceive the idea of a telescope in outer space.

A space telescope is an instrument in outer space that is used for observation of distant planets, galaxies and outer space objects. This category is different from observatories/telescopes located in space that are pointed towards the Earth for the purpose of reconnaissance and information gathering. One of the advantages for such telescopes orbiting Earth is that it is placed outside the Earth’s atmosphere and is not subject to twinkling or light pollution from artificial light sources on Earth.

Space telescopes are grouped by major frequency ranges i.e. gamma ray, x-ray, ultraviolet, infrared, visible, microwave optical and radio.

Some such Space Observatories are the Hubble Space telescope (1990) which works mainly in visible light but can take infra-red images, Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (1991) which maps hundreds of Gamma ray sources and records Gamma Ray bursts – signs of most violent happenings in the Universe, Chandra X-Ray Observatory(1999) which is the most powerful X-Ray telescope, Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) which keeps a track on the Sun at ultra-violet and visible light wave-lengths, Spitzer Space Telescope (2003) which is an infra-red telescope for observing the Universe at invisible, infrared wavelengths. The Spitzer looks at cooler objects in space such as small dim stars, extra-solar planets and giant clouds between the stars, among others.

The following coins have been issued in this Series:

2003 – 700 years of  Hall City in Tyrol or Tirol.

2004 – 150 years Semmering Alpine Railway

2005 – 50 years of Television

2006 – The European Satellite Navigation

2007 – Austrian Aviators

2008 – Fascinating light

2009 – Year of Astronomy

2010 – Renewable Energy Sources.

2011 – Robotics

2012 – Bionics

2013 – Drilling tunnels

2014 - Evolution
2015 - Cosmology

1) The 25 Euro Silver-Niobium Coin Series issued by the Austrian Mint: First Coin : "700 Years of Hall town in Tirol"

2) The 25 Euro Silver-Niobium Coin Series issued by the Austrian Mint: Second Coin: "150 Years of the Semmering Alpine Railway"

3) The 25 Euro Silver-Niobium Coin Series issued by the Austrian Mint: Third Coin: "50 Years of Television" (in Austria)

4) The 25 Euro Silver-Niobium Coin Series issued by the Austrian Mint: Fourth Coin: "European Satellite Navigation System"

5) The 25 Euro Silver-Niobium Coin series issued by the Austrian Mint: Fifth Coin: "Austrian Aviators"

6) The 25 Euro Silver-Niobium Coin Series issued by the Austrian Mint: Sixth Coin: "Fascinating Light" 

7)The 25 Euro Silver-Niobium Coin Series issued by the Austrian Mint: Eighth Coin: "Renewable Energy"

8) The 25 Euro Silver-Niobium Coin Series issued by the Austrian Mint: Ninth Coin: "Robotics"

9) The 25 Euro Silver-Niobium Coin Series issued by the Austrian Mint: Tenth Coin: "Bionics"

10) The 25 Euro Silver-Niobium Coin Series issued by the Austrian Mint : Eleventh Coin: "Tunnel Construction"

11) The 25 Euro Silver-Niobium Coin Series issued by the Austrian Mint: Twelfth Coin: "Evolution"

12) The 50 Euro Gold Coin Series issued by the Austrian Mint: "Klimt & his Women: 2012-2016" (includes Coin of the Year 2015 (COTY)

1 comment:

  1. Choudhary Roy S. has commented:
    " Wonderful...!!"