Presented by the ASP History Committee
THE HISTORY OF THE STUDY OF INTERACTING BINARY STARS
Scott Kenyon, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
A simple picturein which one star expands beyond its tidal limit and loses mass to its companionlies at the heart of models for every interacting binary. This idea began when Goodricke announced periodic light variations in Algol, grew with the application of accurate optical photometry/spectroscopy, and matured as observations expanded to cover the electromagnetic spectrum. The development of a practical stellar evolution theory accompanied this increase in observational knowledge and eventually led to the resolution of the Algol paradox and other apparent inconsistencies in the properties of close binary systems.
THE HISTORY OF CHARGE-COUPLED DEVICES IN ASTRONOMY
James Janesick, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
THE FIRST TWENTY BRUCE MEDALISTS
Joseph S. Tenn, Sonoma State University
The Astronomical Society of the Pacific awarded its first Catherine W. Bruce gold medal to Simon Newcomb in 1898, and its twentieth to Henry Norris Russell in 1925. The first twenty medalists included practitioners of the old astronomy of position, exemplified by Newcomb, and of the new astrophysics, of which Russell was a leader from the turn of the century to the 1950s. There were several celestial mechanicians and a few pioneers of spectroscopy and astronomical photography.
EARLY ASTRONOMICAL BOOKS IN AMERICA
Marco A. Moreno, Observatorio Astronómico Nacional
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries a great number of books on different subjects were introduced into America, arriving on this continent mainly via New Spain (Mexico). Many of these books were scientific texts, mostly astronomical. Analyzing documents of the Spanish colonial era, we have been able to identify important pieces on astronomical concepts developed in Europe that were introduced into America during this period.
THE NATIONAL ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORY OF MEXICO
Marco A. Moreno and Estela De Lara, Observatorio Astronómico Nacional
The Mexican Astronomical Observatory, created in 1878, was located at the top of the Chapultepec Castle, close to Mexico City. In 1882 the Observatory was moved to the Villa de Tacubaya, where it remained until 1954, being incorporated into the National University of Mexico as Observatorio Astronomico Nacional in 1929. In 1951 some telescopes were moved to Tonantzintla, a little town close to the old city of Puebla, but light pollution was the main reason the observatory moved again, this time to the highest (2,840 m) mountains of the San Pedro Martir range in Baja California. A 1.5-m telescope was installed in 1971, and a 0.84-m one the following year. The 2.1-m telescope, officially inaugurated in 1979, has been continuously upgraded with new instrumentation. Today it is an important tool where Mexican and foreign groups have been developing important observation programs in optical astronomy and student training.
THE SNOWS OF YESTERYEAR: THE FOUR LIVES OF A HORIZONTAL SOLAR TELESCOPE
Robert L. Eklund, Mt. Wilson Institute and Mt. Wilson Observatory Association
The Snow horizontal solar telescope, a pioneering application of the coelostat design concept and the first telescope to be installed at the Mount Wilson Observatory, will be 90 years old this year. This paper describes the various incarnations of this historic telescope—its conception and design by George E. Hale and George W. Ritchey; its first permanent installation in 1903 at Yerkes Observatory; its removal to Mount Wilson and use there for solar research during much of this century; and its planned future use as a means to involve students and amateurs in solar physics.
Presented by the ASP History Committee
Katherine Bracher, Whitman College
Roy Garstang, University of Colorado
Kevin Krisciunas, Joint Astronomy Center
Donald E. Osterbrock, UCO/Lick Observatory, University of California, Santa Cruz
W.T. Sullivan, III, University of Washington
Joseph S. Tenn, Sonoma State University (chair)
Craig B. Waff, Grolier Encyclopedia
Thomas R. Williams, Rice University
Donald K. Yeomans, Jet Propulsion Lab