Today in History: “The Satellite of Neptune”
On this day, we look to the stars for our “Today in History”. The eighth planet of our solar system, Neptune, was discovered September 23, 1846. Just 17 days later, a brewer interested in astronomy, William Lassell, discovered the largest of the blue planet’s moons, the mighty Triton. This was one of the first moons discovered orbiting the planet.
William Lassell, before discovering this large satellite (another term referring to moons), was in the brewery business as a Liverpool Businessman. Somehow, this led him on the life to becoming the astronomer history knows him as today. Lassell began engineering a giant reflecting telescope. After Neptune was discovered and some deep observation, he noticed a clear disk near the planet, Neptune, along with it rings, like Saturn. It was soon discovered, by Lassell, that there was a moon, one of the brightest, largest of the moons, near Neptune.
It was often referred to as “the satellite of Neptune”, but soon took the name of Triton after the discovery of other moons around the blue planet. Triton was named after the son of Poseidon himself. Oddly enough, it wasn’t Lassell who picked the name, but a man by the name of Camille Flammarion.
Research done with space.com, astrosurf.com, todayinsci.com