Yerkes Observatory 1892 1950

Author: Donald E. Osterbrock
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226639444
Format: PDF, ePub
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Drawing on his experience as historian of astronomy, practicing astrophysicist, and director of Lick Observatory, Donald Osterbrock uncovers a chapter in the history of astronomy by providing the story of the Yerkes Observatory. "An excellent description of the ups and downs of a major observatory."—Jack Meadows, Nature "Historians are much indebted to Osterbrock for this new contribution to the fascinating story of twentieth-century American astronomy."—Adriaan Blaauw, Journal for the History of Astronomy "An important reference about one of the key American observatories of this century."—Woodruff T. Sullivan III, Physics Today

Walter Baade

Author: Donald E. Osterbrock
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691049366
Format: PDF, ePub
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Although less well known outside the field than Edwin Hubble, Walter Baade was arguably the most influential observational astronomer of the twentieth century. Written by a fellow astronomer deeply familiar with Baade and his work, this is the first biography of this major figure in American astronomy. In it, Donald Osterbrock suggests that Baade's greatest contribution to astrophysics was not, as is often contended, his revision of Hubble's distance and age scales for the universe. Rather, it was his discovery of two distinct stellar populations: old and young stars. This discovery opened wide the previously marginal fields of stellar and galactic evolution--research areas that would be among the most fertile and exciting in all of astrophysics for decades to come. Baade was born, educated, and gained his early research experience in Germany. He came to the United States in 1931 as a staff member of Mount Wilson Observatory, which housed the world's largest telescope. There, he pioneered research on supernovae. With the 100-inch telescope, he studied globular clusters and the structure of the Milky Way, every step leading him closer to the population concept he discovered during the wartime years, when the skies of southern California were briefly darkened. Most Mount Wilson astronomers were working on weapons-development crash programs devoted to bringing Baade's native country to its knees, while he, formally an enemy alien in their midst, was confined to Los Angeles County but had almost unlimited use of the most powerful telescope in the world. After his great discovery, Baade continued his research with the new 200-inch telescope at Palomar. Always respected and well liked, he became even more famous among astronomers as they shifted their research to the fields he had opened. Publicity-shy and seemingly unconcerned with publication, however, Baade's celebrity remained largely within the field. This accomplished biography at last introduces Baade--and his important work--to a wider public, including the newest generation of skywatchers.