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
"Sandage bases his account on nearly a thousand papers published by Mount Wilson astronomers, the National Academy of Sciences Biographical Memoirs series, and his own knowledge of many of the astronomers discussed and their research activities."
George E. Webb, Isis
Foreword Richard A. Meserve; Acknowledgements; Prologue; 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 (1904-1909); 9. Solar physics: the intermediate years (1910-1930); 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 Department 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; Epilogue; Abbreviations; Notes; Bibliography; Index.
Number Of Pages: 664
Published: 15th May 2007
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.9 x 15.2
Weight (kg): 1.14