John Frost (1784 - 1877) was a prominent member of the Newport community, and was held in great esteem and affection for his good character, sense of justice, selflessness, and high principles. In the early 1830s he had become a vocal champion of universal suffrage and a prominent Chartist. He was elected in 1835 as a town councillor for Newport and appointed as a magistrate, and was elected mayor the following year. He was elected as a delegate to the Chartist Convention in 1838.
On November 3, 1839, he led a Chartist march of 3000 in Newport. The marchers came under fire from the army, and within 20 minutes the protest had been brutally suppressed. Frost was arrested and charged with high treason. He and his two fellow leaders became the last men in Britain to be sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Following a huge public outcry, the sentences were commuted to transportation to Van Diemen’s Land. In 1854 Frost was pardoned, on condition that he never returned to Britain. He moved to the US, and toured the country lecturing on the unfairness of the British system of government. In 1856 he received an unconditional pardon. He returned to the UK and retired to Stapleton, where he died at the age of 93.
Parkhurst Prison is one of three prisons on the Isle of Wight. It was once among the few top-security prisons in the UK, but was downgraded in the 1990s following a major escape. Two murderers and a blackmailer broke out of the prison on 3 January 1995 and enjoyed four days of freedom before being recaptured.
Parkhurst was notorious as one of Britain’s toughest jails. Inmates have included the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, Moors Murderer Ian Brady, and gangsters the Kray twins.
It was built as a military hospital in 1805, and later converted into a prison for boys awaiting deportation, mainly to Australia, in 1835.
During World War II a "Starfish Decoy Control Bunker" was erected on Liddington Hill. Its purpose was to create localised fires which would fool enemy bombers and hopefully prevent them from targeting Swindon, or the RAF Wroughton Air Force station.
RAF Wroughton was operational from the late 1930s through the 1970s. While it is no longer a military installation, the airfield and some of the original buildings still exist, as does the starfish bunker.
Aphelion and perihelion are points on an elliptical orbit around the sun. Aphelion is the point furthest from the sun, and perihelion the closest.
The Earth has the highest density of the planets in the solar system, at 5.515 g/cm3, followed by Mercury at 5.427 g/cm3. If the effect of gravitational compression is factored out, the materials of which Mercury is made would be denser, with an uncompressed density of 5.3 g/cm3 versus Earth’s 4.4 g/cm3
Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun. It is named after the ancient Greek deity of the sky. Like the other giant planets, Uranus has a ring system, a magnetosphere and numerous moons. It has 27 known natural satellites. They are named for characters from the works of Shakespeare and Alexander Pope. The five main satellites are Miranda, Ariel, Umbriel, Titania and Oberon.
Cassiopeia is a constellation in the northern sky, named after the vain queen Cassiopeia in Greek mythology, who boasted about her unrivalled beauty. It was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century Greek astronomer Ptolemy (there are currently 88 known constellations today). It is easily recognizable due to its distinctive 'W' shape, formed by five bright stars. It is bordered by Andromeda to the south, Perseus to the southeast, and Cepheus to the north. Within the 'W' lies Cassiopeia A - the remnant of a supernova that took place approximately 300 years ago (11,000 light-years from Earth).
A meteorite is a piece of space debris that has fallen into the earth’s solar system and remains intact to land on the earth’s surface.
In case you are tempted to catch a meteor you can look for a local shower on this calender. If you aren’t feeling up to that challenge, you can always consider collecting meteor dust. The website, Starryskies.com, suggest that if you place a large container with some water in it high above sources of contamination from earthly dust, and leave it there for a couple of weeks you may catch some meteor dust. To be certain it isn’t just normal dust you can separate it out with a magnet, the high iron content in the meteor dust will cause it to stick to the magnet.