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The Immortal Fire within: The Life and Work of Edward Emerson Barnard

Biography / Memoir

By: William Sheehan

443 pages, 64 half-tones

Cambridge University Press

Paperback | Dec 2007 | #172805 | ISBN-13: 9780521046015
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £66.99 $82/€75 approx
Hardback | Sep 1995 | #172806 | ISBN: 0521444896
Out of Print Details

About this book

This full-length biography of Edward Emerson Barnard, tells the remarkable tale of endurance and achievement of one of the leading astronomers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As a 'man who was never known to sleep', Barnard scoured the heavens endlessly, leaving an astonishing legacy of observations - of planets, satellites, comets, double stars, bright and dark nebulae and globular clusters - that make him one of the greatest observers of all time. This book traces Barnard's life from poverty to international recognition. We are told how he grew up fatherless and in hardship during the American Civil War; that he later acquired a small telescope and discovered so many comets that, despite his lack of formal education, he won a position at the Lick Observatory, California. His success as a professional astronomer then unfolds, and we are told, in particular, how he discovered the fifth satellite of Jupiter and pioneered wide-angle photography of comets and the Milky Way.

'This is a gold mine for anyone with a taste for astronomy's historical highlights.' New Scientist 'well-written and meticulously researched biography that makes judicious use of voluminous archives. With its numerous photographs (including many of Barnard's own) it is a handsome and well-produced volume.' Steven J. Dick, Science 'A comprehensive biography of Barnard is [still valued] and this book succeeds admirably. It is finely researched and paints a compelling story of a great observer ...It is thoroughly recommended.' Bob Argyle, Webb Society Reviews 'This is a worthy successor to B. Sheehan's Planets and Perception. I strongly recommend it to you.' Journal of the British Astronomical Association 'Readers will undoubtedly enjoy many fascinating hours with this highly informative and valuable biography.' Irish Astronomical Journal 'A very detailed and comprehensive written biography of one of the most remarkable astronomers of the last change of century.' Reviews of Astronomical Tools '... a valuable historical record ... fascinating human story ... any library worth its salt will want a copy.' David Strickland, The Observatory 'Sheehan's beautifully illustrated book is rendered in prose accessible to the layperson and professional alike.' Gale E. Christianson, Journal of History and Astronomy


Preface; Key to abbreviations in notes; 1. Through rugged ways; 2. Ardent and faithful work with a telescope; 3. Mars; his moons and his heavens; 4. A seeker of comets; 5. Vanderbilt astronomer; 6. In the realm of the nebulae; 7. Go west, young man!; 8. Hanging fire; 9. On Mt. Hamilton; 10. A year of wonders; 11. The young rebel; 12. 'I am tired here'; 13. Immortality; 14. Travels and travails; 15. Barnard and Mars; 16. Nature's true artisan; 17. A tide in his affairs; 18. Yerkes observatory; 19. Disappointments and triumphs; 20. The comet and Milky Way photographs; 21. Comet tales; 22. Observer of all that shines - or obscures; 23. Eclipse and decline; 24. Ad astra; Index.

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