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Centennial History of the Carnegie Institution of Washington: Volume 1: The Mount Wilson Observatory

Series: Centennial History of the Carnegie Institution of Washington Volume: 1

By: Allan Sandage (Author), Richard A Meserve (Foreword By)

662 pages, illustrations

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Jan 2013 | #205626 | ISBN-13: 9781107412392
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £54.99 $67/€62 approx
Hardback | Mar 2005 | #152609 | ISBN: 0521830788
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £124.00 $152/€139 approx

About this book

Since its foundation in 1904, the Mount Wilson Observatory has been at the centre of the development of astrophysics. Perched atop a mountain wilderness, two mammoth solar tower telescopes and the 60- and 100-inch behemoth night-time reflectors were all the largest in the world. Research has centred around two main themes – the evolution of stars and the development of the universe. This first volume in a series of five histories of the Carnegie Institution describes the people and events, the challenges and successes that the Observatory has witnessed. It includes biographical sketches of forty of the most famous Mount Wilson pioneer astronomers working during the first half of the twentieth century. Contemporary photographs illustrate the development and use of some of the innovative instruments that filled the observatory during this time. This story brings together the elements that formed modern theories of stellar evolution and cosmology.

"The book is nicely produced and illustrated [...] Certainly one for the library, for historians of science, and for nostalgic old astronomers like me! Younger bloods will also learn some good astronomy from it."
- David Stickland, The Observatory


Foreword Richard A. Meserve

Part I. Before the Beginning (1542-1904)
1. A telegram
2. The origin of a name
3. Three observatories for Mount Wilson before the real one
4. The creation of the Carnegie Institution and its initial Astronomy Advisory Committee

Part II. Creation of the Observatory and the First Scientific Results
5. The instruments of detection: solar telescopes, coelostats, spectrographs and spectra
6. Snow, hale, frost and gale: just the right people to study storms on the sun
7. Tower telescopes and magnetic fields and cycles
8. Pioneers of peering: the scientific staff in the early years (1904-9)
9. Solar physics: the intermediate years (1910-30)
10. Yet more solar physics: motions on the surface, clocks in the gravity field and the reality of prominences

Part III. The Beginning of Nighttime Sidereal Astronomy at Mount Wilson
11. The coming of the 60-inch and 100-inch reflectors
12. Life on the mountain
13. Anatomy of an observatory

Part IV. Preparation for an Understanding of Stellar Evolution and Galactic Structure
14. Galactic structure in the raw
15. Spectral classification and the invention of spectroscopic parallaxes
16. Radial velocity
17. Globular star clusters and the galactocentric revolution
18. Galactic rotation: Stromberg, Lindblad and Oort
19. The Carnegie Meridian Astrometry De

partment at the Dudley Observatory
20. Absolute magnitudes from direct parallaxes and stellar motions
21. Threads leading to the population concept that became the fabric of evolution

Part V. Physics of the Stars and the Interstellar Medium
22. Five problems in astrophysics
23. Long-term research associates and short-term visitors
24. Interstellar gas, instruments and the spiral arms of the galaxy

Part VI. Observational Cosmology and the Code of Stellar Evolution
25. Observational cosmology I: galaxy classification and the discovery of cepheids
26. Observational cosmology II: the expansion of the universe and the search for the curvature of space
27. Down more corridors of time
28. The observational approach to stellar evolution


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