HAD I Special: Origin of Structure and the Expanding Universe
Session #90: Sunday, 5 Jan 2014, 1:30–3:30 p.m., Baltimore 5
Session Chair: Simon Mitton, University of Cambridge
Description: When Hot Big Bang cosmology became widely accepted from the 1960s theorists realised that an explanation of how structure arises in the universe was a complex intellectual puzzle. Speakers in this session will explore how aspects of the problem of structure formation developed in the last century. Speakers will explain how the problem of origin—the “why is there something rather than nothing?” question slowly dawned. Speakers will explain why expansion models of the universe were only slowly accepted. New scholarship sheds light on the exchanges between Einstein and Hubble. A new timeline will be presented of events in 1948 concerning the thermal radiation associated with a hot expansion. The session concludes with an assessment of Beatrice Tinsley's contribution to derailing the famous “search for two numbers” that would define the evolution of the universe.
Simon Mitton, Session Organizer
1:30 1. Nor Yet the Last to Lay the Old Aside: Structuring the Something
Virginia Trimble, University of California, Irvine and Las Cumbres Global Telescope Network.
Once we agree that the Universe is full of stuff, obvious follow-up questions are how is it arranged and why that way rather than some other? For many cultures, the distributing has been part and parcel of the creation. The modern view shoves baryogenesis, leptogenesis, WIMP- genesis, and all very far back in time, but builds up structure continuously, using not-very-special initial conditions and gravity (plus perhaps other forces) to develop what we see today. In between come some remarkable constructs, including Thomas Wright’s hierarchy, Descartes’s Voronoi tesselation of whirlpools in the aether, Alfred Russel Wallace’s (yes, the evolution guy) “Goldilocks” location for the solar system, Cornelis Easton’s off-center spiral arms, and the Kapteyn Universe. The talk will explore some of these and others, why the proposers thought they were likely, and the supporting entitites they were required to abandon—luminiferous aether, solar system centrality, transparent space, and all. Dark stars and dark matter, under those names, were part of the inventory from early interpretations of Beta Lyrae, through the writings of A.M. Clerke, to 1922 papers by Kapyteyn and Jeans.
1:50 2. A One Galaxy Universe and the Shift to Modern Cosmology
Robert Smith, University of Alberta.
It was generally believed in 1900 that the visible universe consisted of our own galactic system. Some astronomers reckoned other galaxies might exist, but such external stellar systems had not been sighted in even the most powerful telescopes. In this paper I will examine these views and then explore how and why they fell from favor such that a recognisably modern cosmology had begun to emerge within another two decades.
2:10 3. Redshifts and the Expanding Universe—Paradigm Shift or Slow Dawning?
Cormac O’Raifeartaigh, Waterford Institute of Technology, Ireland.
The observation by Edwin Hubble of a linear relation between the redshift of the spiral nebulae and their radial distance marked one of the great discoveries of 20th century astronomy. This paper examines how the finding was interpreted as possible evidence for a universe of expanding radius by a number of theoreticians, but not astronomers. A brief review of the cosmic models of theoreticians such as Lemaître, Eddington, Einstein, de Sitter and Tolman is given, contrasting their different views of issues such as spatial curvature, the cosmological constant, the singularity and the formation of structure. It is argued that the concept of an expanding universe was not fully accepted for many years, and is best seen as the slow dawning of an idea rather than an abrupt Kuhnian paradigm shift.
2:30 4. Dismantling Hubble’s Legacy?
Michael Way, NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies.
Edwin Hubble is famous for a number of discoveries that are well known to amateur and professional astronomers, students and even the general public. The origins of three of the most well- known discoveries are examined: The distances to nearby spiral nebulae, the classification of extragalactic-nebulae and the Hubble constant. In the case of the first two a great deal of supporting evidence was already in place, but little credit was given. The Hubble Constant had already been estimated in 1927 by Georges Lemaitre with roughly the same value that Hubble obtained in 1929 using redshifts provided mostly by Vesto M. Slipher. These earlier estimates were not adopted or were forgotten by the astronomical community for complex scientific, sociological and psychological reasons.
2:50 5. What happened in 1948?
P. James E. Peebles, Princeton University.
The idea that the universe is filled with the sea of thermal radiation now termed the Cosmic Microwave Background was first discussed in eleven publications in the year 1948 by Alpher, Herman, and Gamow. Precision measurements of this radiation are a central part of the evidence establishing the relativistic hot Big Bang theory of the expanding universe. The eleven 1948 papers offer a fascinating illustration of the exploration of a new line of research, and the confusion that can attend it. That includes a common misunderstanding of the considerations that led to the idea of this thermal radiation.
3:10 6. How Beatrice Tinsley Destroyed Sandage’s Quest for Standard Candles
Simon Mitton, University of Cambridge.
The goal of cosmology and most extragalactic optical astronomy during the heroic period spanning the half century from Hubble to Sandage (1920s – 1970s) was a search for two numbers, the Hubble constant and the deceleration parameter. Standard candles were needed to establish the measure of the universe. In 1968, Beatrice Tinsley, then a postdoctoral fellow in the astronomy department of the University of Texas at Austin showed that the great enterprise at Palomar of calibrating the galaxies was in need of major revision. At the 132nd AAS Meeting (June 1970, Boulder, Colorado) she presented a paper on galactic evolution on the magnitude-redshift relation. In her Abstract she boldly wrote: "My present conclusion is opposite to that reached by most cosmologists." In fact her claims caused great consternation among cosmologists. In 1972 she published eight papers on the evolution of galaxies, and the effects of that evolution for observational cosmology and the origin of structure.
3:30 End of session.
HAD II Special: From Barnard’s Star to the Kepler Mission: Searching for Low Mass Companions to Stars
Session #91: Sunday, 5 Jan 2014, 4:00–6:00 p.m., Baltimore 5
Description: One of the signal advances in astronomy in the last 25 years has been the discovery of extrasolar planets. Speakers in this session will examine the role of applying new technologies, hardware and software, scientific and cultural, to the search for planets in the universe. Speakers will identify what the limits of detection have been over the past century, and how these limits have been extended to the point where humanity seems now on the verge of actually finding habitable abodes of life circling other stars. Speakers who have been participants in the process will discuss their strategies and modes of operation, and what they feel are the key artifacts of the material heritage of the process that should be preserved to better record and appreciate this stage in the search for life in the universe.
David DeVorkin and Steven Dick, Session Organizers
Panel 1: The Radial Velocity Method (Moderator: Steven Dick, Library of Congress)
4:00 1. Hydrogen Fluoride: An Unexpected Calalyst in the Search for Extra-solar Planets
Gordon Walker, University of Victoria.
In the 1970s we developed low light level digital TV systems at UBC for the DAO 1.2-m telescope coudé spectrograph. John Glaspey eliminated reading-beam jitter using telluric water vapor lines as fiducials. Later, when we switched to solid state diode arrays, I suggested to Bruce Campbell that we could look for extra-solar planets using telluric lines to eliminate RV errors induced by irregular slit illumination. He went a step further by introducing a deployable absorption cell of hot HF gas. In December 1978 he and I demonstrated that an RV precision ~10 m/s was possible from observations of the Sun! Sufficient precision to detect the reflex acceleration of a solar-type star accompanied by a Jupiter. Bruce moved to CFHT in 1979 where the coudé spectrograph was a replica of that at DAO. He built an HF cell and gas handling system and we were granted some 6 to 8 nights per year. Modeling the line spread function proved critical in the reductions while, at the telescope, isolation of the telescope exit pupil and estimation of the epoch of the weighted mean exposure time were key. The program lasted some 12 years with, initially, little to show by way of results other than demonstrating the technique worked and so it attracted little interest but ample skepticism.
4:15 2. The Unseen Companion of HD 114762
David Latham, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
I have told the story of the discovery of the unseen companion of HD114762 (Latham et al. 1989, Nature, 389, 38-40) in a recent publication (Latham 2012, New Astronomy Reviews 56, 16-18). The discovery was enabled by a happy combination of some thinking outside the box by Tsevi Mazeh at Tel Aviv University and the development of new technology for measuring stellar spectra at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Tsevi’s unconventional idea was that giant exoplanets might be found much closer to their host stars than Jupiter and Saturn are to the Sun, well inside the snow line. Our instrument was a high-resolution echelle spectrograph optimized for measuring radial velocities of stars similar to the Sun. The key technological developments were an intensified Reticon photon-counting detector under computer control combined with sophisticated analysis of the digital spectra. The detector signal-processing electronics eliminated persistence, which had plagued other intensified systems. This allowed bright Th-Ar calibration exposures before and after every stellar observation, which in turn enabled careful correction for spectrograph drifts. We built three of these systems for telescopes in Massachusetts and Arizona and christened them the “CfA Digital Speedometers”. The discovery of HD 114762-b was serendipitous, but not accidental.
4:30 3. Technology Enabling the First 100 Exoplanets
Geoffrey Marcy, University of California at Berkeley.
The discoveries of the first 100 exoplanets by precise radial velocities in the late 1990’s at Lick Observatory and Observatoire de Haute-Provence were enabled by several technological advances and a cultural one. A key ingredient was a cross-dispersed echelle spectrometer at a stable, coudé focus, with a CCD detector, offering high spectral resolution, large wavelength coverage, and a linear response to photons. A second ingredient was a computer capable of storing the megabyte images from such spectrometers and analyzing them for Doppler shifts. Both Lick and OHP depended on these advents. A third ingredient was a stable wavelength calibration. Here, two technologies emerged independently, with iodine gas employed by Marcy’s group (used first by solar physicists doing helioseismology) and simultaneous thorium-argon spectra (enabled by fiber optics) used by Mayor’s group. A final ingredient was a new culture emerging in the 1990’s of forward-modeling of spectra on computers, enabled by the well-behaved photon noise of CCDs, giving Poisson errors amenable to rigorous statistical algorithms for measuring millipixel Doppler shifts. The prospect of detecting the 12 meter/sec reflex velocity (1/100 pixel) of a Jupiter-like planet was considered impossible, except to a few who asked, “What actually limits Doppler precision?” Inspired insights were provided by Robert Howard, Paul Schechter, Bruce Campbell, and Gordon Walker, leading to the first 100 exoplanets.
4:45 DiscussionPanel 2: The Transit Method (Moderator: David DeVorkin, Smithsonian Institution )
5:00 4. Barriers to the Development of the Kepler Mission
W. J. Borucki, NASA Ames Research Center.
No one had ever proposed nor flown a spacecraft mission that could do automated photometry of many thousands of stars simultaneously with the 10 ppm photometric precision necessary to detect the transits of Earth-size planets. Consequently, several barriers needed to be overcome before the Kepler Mission concept was accepted by the Discovery Program review panel. To overcome these barriers it was necessary to:
1) demonstrate that appropriate detectors were available that had the precision to detect transits of Earth-size planets, 2) prove that the variability of solar-like stars would be sufficiently low that SNR of transits from Earth-size planets could be detected with high reliability,
3) demonstrate the automated observations of thousands of stars simultaneously and the automated analysis of the observations,
4) develop a lab test facility to demonstrate the 10ppm photometric precision necessary to find Earth-sized planets orbiting solar-like stars and do it in the presence of the noise expected from on-orbit operation including thermal variations, the presence of nearby stars, and the impact of energetic particles,
5) form a team of experienced, technically qualified people who agreed that the technique would work and that they would support the mission development, operation, and the analysis of the results.
The methods used to overcome these barriers will be presented.
5:15 5. The Discovery of Extrasolar Planets via Transits
Edward Dunham, Lowell Observatory; W. J. Borucki, NASA Ames Research Center; Jon Jenkins, SETI Institute; Natalie Batalha, NASA Ames Research Center; Doug Caldwell, SETI Institute; and Georgi Mandushev, Lowell Observatory.
The goal of detecting extrasolar planets has been part of human thought for many centuries and several plausible approaches for detecting them have been discussed for many decades. At this point in history the two most successful approaches have been the reflex radial velocity and transit approaches. These each have the additional merit of corroborating a discovery by the other approach, at least in some cases, thereby producing very convincing detections of objects that can't be seen. In the transit detection realm the key enabling technical factors were development of:
- high quality large area electronic detectors
- practical fast optics with wide fields of view
- automated telescope systems
- analysis algorithms to correct for inadequacies in the instrumentation
- computing capability sufficient to cope with all of this
This part of the equation is relatively straightforward. The more important part is subliminal, namely what went on in the minds of the proponents and detractors of the transit approach as events unfolded. Three major paradigm shifts had to happen. First, we had to come to understand that not all solar systems look like ours. The motivating effect of the hot Jupiter class of planet was profound. Second, the fact that CCD detectors can be much more stable than anybody imagined had to be understood. Finally, the ability of analysis methods to correct the data sufficiently well for the differential photometry task at hand had to be understood by proponents and detractors alike. The problem of capturing this changing mind-set in a collection of artifacts is a difficult one but is essential for a proper presentation of this bit of history.
5:30 6. Adapting Low-Tech Gear to Exoplanet Discovery
Timothy Brown, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network.
The discovery of 51 Peg b by Mayor and Queloz revealed (among other things) that discovering extrasolar planets, though certainly difficult, was not as hard as professional astronomers had previously thought. At the same time, the astronomical equipment available to amateurs—including optics, mountings, and CCD detectors—had become quite capable. This combination of factors led to successful exoplanet programs that leaned heavily on amateur-grade hardware, seeking faster development times and lower costs than were possible for traditional no-compromises astronomical instrument programs. I will describe two of these in which I played a role: the AFOE (Advanced Fiber Optic Echelle) spectrograph, and the STellar Astrophysics and Research on Exoplanets (STARE) transit-search wide-field imager.
6:00 End of session.
HAD III History Poster Papers
Session #147: Monday, 6 Jan 2014, 9:20 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Exhibit Hall ABC
1. Urania in the Marketplace: The Timepieces
Kenneth S. Rumstay, Valdosta State University.
During the twentieth century astronomical imagery was frequently incorporated, by makers of a wide variety of consumer goods, into advertisements which appeared in popular magazines in America. These images were usually intended to suggest a level of precision and reliability for the product associated (at least in the public conscience) with the science of astronomical observation. Perhaps more than any other item encountered in daily life, the personal timepiece was expected to exhibit these attributes.
During the prosperous 1920’s, two watch manufacturers in particular used astronomical associations to extoll the quality of their wares. One was the Elgin National Watch Company, an American firm founded in Chicago in 1864 which remained in business until 1968. The other was the Swiss firm Longines (more properly the Compagnie des Montres Longines Francillon S.A.); based in Saint-Imier since its founding in 1832, this firm has been producing luxury watches for 182 years. Both produced full-page ads for wide-circulation magazines such as The National Geographic, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Saturday Evening Post. While enticing readers to purchase a new watch as a gift or for oneself, these ads provided a look into the world of the professional astronomer.
Examples of advertisements by these and other watch manufacturers, spanning the period 1897 to 1967 are presented. Particularly amusing is a personal testimonial from the English owner of an American Waltham watch, who had chided Britain’s Astronomer Royal for dropping the Greenwich time ball just a tad too early..
2. 50 Years of the Astro-Science Workshop at the Adler Planetarium
Mark Hammergren, Adler Planetarium; M.W. Martynowycz, Illinois Institute of Technology; and G. Ratliff, Illinois Institute of Technology,.
Since 1964, the Adler Planetarium has hosted a program for highly motivated and interested high-school students known as the Astro-Science Workshop (ASW). Created in response to the national “call to arms” for improved science education following the stunning launch of Sputnik, ASW was originally conducted as an extracurricular astronomy class on Saturday mornings throughout the school year, for many years under the leadership of Northwestern University professor J. Allen Hynek. A gradual decline in student interest in the 1990’s led to a redesign of ASW as a summer program featuring hands-on, student-driven investigation and experimentation. Since 2002, ASW has been organized and taught by graduate student “scientist-educators” and funded through a series of grants from the NSF. For the past seven years, students have designed, built, and flown experiments on helium balloons to altitudes of around 30 km (100,000 feet). Here, as we enter its 50th anniversary, we present the history of the Astro-Science Workshop, its context among the small but still vibrant community of post-Sputnik science enrichment programs, and its rich legacy of inspiring generations of astronomers and other explorers..
HAD IV History of Astronomy
Session #107: Monday, 6 Jan 2014, 10:00–11:30 a.m., National Harbor 3
Session Chair: Marc Rothenberg, National Science Foundation
10:00 1. We Are NOT Alone!
Elizabeth Griffin, Dominion Astrophysical Observatory.
Astronomy has many caches of valuable data. In addition to the ever-expanding databases from modern surveys, there are also photographic archives of historic observations, each a unique image of some event, object or spectrum—a once-only observation, and a one-only version. Analogue data like that cannot be copied; they are precious, fragile, and imperilled. They are essential for time-sensitive research but cannot be ingested into modern analyses until they have been correctly and completely digitized, a procedure that is not easy, not cheap, and not commonly found. This story is not new, but what IS new to many astronomers is the realization that other sciences are in just the same, or even worse, predicament. In other sciences, historic data may be heaps of record sheets, the ink fading and the paper attacked by vermin. Unlike astronomy, whose plates are neatly filed in observatory plate vaults, and carefully card-catalogued, other sciences look for their historic data in uncharted territory, often relying on word of mouth or chance for their discovery and recovery. The situation must be addressed before the records and photographs degrade to being unuseable. Individual sciences have to compete with one another for funds to translate their analogue data into manageable electronic versions, but if the individual challenges are federated into a global scientific project, with Astronomy being just one partner that also has good experience to share, the problem becomes a recognized, international shared concern. Its solution will enable all sciences (and thereby human knowledge) to become become much better informed. The talk will demonstrate that claim through specific examples, and will also bring the HAD up to date on the progress being made to provide rapid and reliable access to the historic astronomical data of the world.
10:10 2. The Astronomy Genealogy Project
Joseph S. Tenn, Sonoma State University.
The Astronomy Genealogy Project, to be known as AstroGen, will list as many as possible of the world's astronomers with their academic parents (aka thesis advisors) and enable the reader to trace both academic ancestors and descendants. It will be very similar to the highly successful Mathematics Genealogy Project (MGP), available at http://genealogy.math.ndsu.nodak.edu. The MGP, which has been in operation since 1996, now contains the names of about 170,000 “mathematicians.” These include many physicists and astronomers, as well as practitioners of related sciences. Mitchel Keller, the director of the MGP, has generously shared the software used in that project, and the American Astronomical Society (AAS) will host AstroGen, a project of the Historical Astronomy Division, on its website. We expect to start seeking entries soon, depending on the availability of computational assistance from the AAS IT department. We are seeking volunteers to help run the project. If you are interested, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10:20 3. East, West, North, South: A Look at a Method Available to Prehistoric Cultures to Both Determine Cardinality and the Date of the Equinox
Anthony Hull, University of New Mexico; E. Jewell, University of Phoenix; and C. Ambruster, AAS Emeritus.
Many prehistoric world cultures have public and sacred buildings and roads which may exhibit cardinality (alignment to the true cardinal directions) to impressive precision. Careful alignment of such buildings would seem a means to relate the ground hemisphere to the celestial hemisphere. Not all prehistoric cultures cared about true cardinality, but apparently many did. Even today, lacking surveying instruments or GPS, determination of the cardinal directions, even to ±1-2 degrees, is challenging. In this paper we examine how these directions could have been accurately determined by prehistoric peoples with attentive observation using simply a gnomon. While we will not examine here their models of the cosmos, nor why they would construct to these alignments, we do examine expected systematic and random errors in such determinations if a gnomon is used. Our models demonstrate that marking the shadow locus from a gnomon not only can inform on cardinality to remarkable.
10:35 4. Graeco-Roman Astro-Architecture: The Temples of Pompeii
Vance Tiede, Astro-Archaeology Surveys, Guilford, CT.
Roman architect Marcus Vetruvius Pollio (ca. 75-15 BC) wrote, “[O]ne who professes himself as an architect should be...acquainted with astronomy and the theory of the heavens.... From astronomy we find the east, west, south, and north, as well as the theory of the heavens, the Equinox, Solstice and courses of the Stars.” (De Architectura Libri Decem I:i:3,10). In order to investigate the role of astronomy in temple orientation, the author conducted a preliminary GIS DEM/Satellite Imaging survey of 11 temples at Pompeii, Italy (N 40° 45', E 14° 29'). The GIS survey measured the true azimuth and horizon altitude of each temple’s major axis and was field checked by a Ground Truth survey with theodolite and GPS, 5-18 April 2013. The resulting 3D vector data was analyzed with Program STONEHENGE (Hawkins 1983, 328) to identify the local skyline declinations aligned with the temple major axes. Analysis suggests that the major axes of the temples of Apollo, Jupiter and Venus are equally as likely to have been oriented to Pompeii’s urban grid, itself oriented NW-SE on Mt. Vesuvius’ slope and hydraulic gradient to optimize urban sewer/street drainage (cf. Hodge 1992). However, the remaining nine temples appear to be oriented to astronomical targets on the local horizon associated with Graeco-Roman calendrics and mythology.
TEMPLE/ DATE/ MAJOR AXIS ASTRO-TARGET (Skyline Declination in degrees)
PUBLIC LARES/AD 50/ Cross-Quarter 7 Nov/3 Feb Sun Set, Last Gleam (-16.5)
VESPASIAN/ AD 69-79/ Cross-Quarter 7 Nov/3 Feb Sun Set, LG (-16.2)
FORTUNA AUGUSTA/ AD 1/ Winter Solstice Sun Set, LG (-22.9)
AESCULAPIUS/ 100 BC/ Perseus Rise (Beta Persei-Algol = +33.0)
& Midsummer Moon Major Stand Still Set, LG (-28.1)
ISIS/ 100 BC/ Midwinter Moon Major Stand Still Rise, Tangent (+28.5)
& Equinox Sun Set, Tangent (-0.3)
JUPITER/ 150 BC/Theta Scorpionis-Sargas Rise (-38.0)
APOLLO/ 550 (rebuilt 70 BC)/ Alpha Columbae-Phact Rise (-37.1)
VENUS/ 150 BC (rebuilt 70 BC)/Alpha Columbae-Phact Rise (-37.7)
CERES/ 250 BC/ Midsummer Moon Major Stand Still Set, LG (-27.9)
DIOYSYUS/ 250 BC/ Equinox Sun Set, LG (+0.3)
DORIC/ 550 BC/Beta Orionis-Rigel Rise (-14.6)
10:50 5. paper withdrawn by Alan Gersch.
11:00 6. paper withdrawn by Paul McKittrick.
11:10 7. Messier, Copernicus, Flamsteed: The SAF Rare-Book Collection in Paris
Jay M. Pasachoff, Williams College.
The historic books belonging to the Société Astronomique de France, founded by Camille Flammarion in 1887, are located partly in Paris and partly at the Flammarion site in Juvisy, a Paris suburb. Their holdings include first editions of Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus and of Flamsteed’s star atlas, as well as Messier's own copy of his 1783 and 1784 papers with his handwritten comments and additions. I will describe the fruitless search for a Bevis atlas and the circumstances that led me to inspect these treasures.
I thank David Valls-Gabaud and Philippe Morel of the Société Astronomique de France for their hospitality in Paris, Jean-Claude Pecker, and Owen Gingerich for his prior work on Messier's catalogue..
11:20 8. Paper withdrawn by Lee Anne Willson
11:30 End of session.HAD Business Meeting
HAD V History of Astronomy
Session #134: Monday, 6 Jan 2014, 2:00–3:30 p.m., National Harbor 3
Session Chair: Linda French, Illinois Wesleyan University
2:00 1. Astronomical Beliefs in Medieval Georgia: Innovative Approaches
Jefferson Sauter, University of Southern Queensland; Wayne Orchiston, National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand; and F. Richard Stephenson, University of Durham.
Written sources from medieval Georgia show, among other things, how astronomical ideas were adapted on the periphery of the Byzantine and Islamic worlds. In this paper, we investigate a number of Georgian beliefs about the heavens from a calendrical work and a celestial prognostication text, but also from less expected sources including the medieval life of a saint and an epic poem. For the most part, these sources were derived from Byzantine or Persian models. We show the extent to which the sources nevertheless conform to a specifically Georgian view of the cosmos. We argue that, in so doing, medieval Georgian authors employed several innovative approaches hitherto unnoticed by modern scholars.
2:15 2. Habitability and the Possibility of Extraterrestrial Life in the Early Telescope Era
Sarah Reynolds, Indiana University.
Early telescopic observations of the Moon and planets prompted great interest in the already-existing debate about the possibility of life on the Moon and other worlds. New observations of the lunar surface, revealing an apparently Earth-like terrain and possibly the presence of bodies of water, were often considered in relation to their implications for the existence of lunar inhabitants. This depended upon establishing what constituted the fundamental requirements for life and the boundaries of habitability. The growing support for the heliocentric Copernican astronomy was also changing perceptions of the relationships between the Earth, the Moon, and the planets. Works such as Johannes Kepler’s Somnium and John Wilkins’ The Discovery of a World in the Moone presented views of extraterrestrial life that were shifting from the supernatural to the natural, in correspondence with the celestial bodies’ new positions in the cosmos. This paper considers how these and other works from the early telescope era reveal changes in the nature of astronomical speculation about extraterrestrial life and the conditions construed as “habitability,” and what significance that history has for us today in the new era of extrasolar planet discovery.
2:30 3. What Exactly Was William Herschel’s Milky Way and How Did He Construct It?
Woodruff T. Sullivan, III and R. Sharma, University of Washington, Seattle.
William Herschel is famous for his “Construction of the Heavens,” his pioneering quantitative view of the Milky Way based on extensive star counts (“gages”) carried out while sweeping with his 20-ft telescope in the early 1780s. In 1785 he presented his main result in a single iconic diagram—a view of the Milky Way that was to dominate for over a century until ”Kapteyn’s Universe” finally overtook it in the early 20th century.
In this paper we analyze the entire data sample of Herschel’s published and unpublished star gages in order better to understand the nature of the data and how he used them. We examine such issues as his method of observing, his limiting magnitude, his consistency in star counting, his sky coverage, and his distance scaling (in units of “visual rays”). We also discuss how representative was his lone published 2-D slice through his model Milky Way, and the effects of his basic assumptions (such as a uniform density of stars). Where insight can be gained, we make comparisons with modern star counts (such as those of the HST Guide Star Catalog).
To assist in this effort we have employed 3-D visualization software, as well as a plastic model (to be exhibited) constructed by a 3-D printer illustrating many aspects of the Herschelian Milky Way.
2:45 4. paper withdrawn by Thomas Hockey.
2:45 5. Simon Newcomb, Other Aspects of His Career
Brenda G. Corbin, U.S. Naval Observatory (retired).
Simon Newcomb (1835-1909) is perhaps the best known American astronomer of the late 19th century. Among the many aspects of his long career, he was one of the founders and the first president of what later became the American Astronomical Society. However, he wrote widely on subjects other than astronomy, even producing works of fiction. He was especially interested in economics and published such titles as A Critical Examination of Our Financial Policy during the Southern Rebellion, A Plain Man’sTalk on the Labor Question, Principles of Political Economy and others. The very interesting title, A Statistical Inquiry into the Probability of Causes of the Production of Sex in Human Offspring was written in 1904. Newcomb even produced a work of science fiction, His Wisdom, the Defender: a Story, published in 1900. William Alvord, President of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, on awarding Newcomb the Bruce Medal stated “The essential quality of his mind is that of a philosopher rather than that of a mathematician or an astronomer merely.” It has been suggested (Bradley Schaefer and others) that Arthur Conan Doyle used Newcomb as the model for Prof. Moriarty in his Sherlock Holmes novels. He had close friendships with many scientists of his time including Alexander Graham Bell. On the other hand, it has been reported that he also had contentious relationships with some scientists and could be intimidating. A devoted family man, he encouraged his three daughters in their intellectual pursuits. Newcomb, who held naval rank in the Corps of Professors of Mathematics, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. His funeral was attended by many noted scientists and other dignitaries including President William Howard Taft.
3:00 6. Celebrating 130 Years of the Alvan Clark Telescope at Albion College
Nicolle Zellner and Nicole Garrett Smeltekop, Albion College.
This year, 2013-2014, marks the 130th anniversary of the 8" Alvan Clark refracting telescope and observatory building at Albion College, an undergraduate college in Albion, MI. Completed in 1884, the observatory is an excellent example of a nineteenth century astronomical building; its telescope is still useable and other instruments (Fauth and Company sidereal clock, transit telescope, and chronograph) are in very good condition. The building has a long history, serving once as a barracks for World War I soldiers, and the telescope has helped to train the next generation of scientists, from Forest Ray Moulton (Class of 1894) to present-day students. Several times each year, the telescope is open to the public and to the campus community for public observing events, and during the anniversary year, several other activities are planned. I will describe the history of our observatory and its people and give an overview of the events planned for this year.
3:15 7. Lemaître’s Limit(s) to our Universe(s)
Ian Steer, NASA Extragalactic Database.
Georges Lemaître gave a theoretical proof for his 1927 doctoral thesis in astronomy that the maximum spherical radius of our Universe can be computed from first principles to be 14.2 billion light-years. That estimate, which is known as Lemaître’s limit, is within 3% of current estimates of the Universes age. Further, the most precise estimate of the Hubble constant to date, H = 69.3 km/s/Mpc from the full nine-years of Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe measurements, is within 1% of the value predicted based on Lemaître’s Limit, H = 68.7 km/s/Mpc. If Lemaître’s Limit is resurrected, it will revolutionize cosmology.
3:30 End of session.AAS Plenary Session: Doggett Prize
4:30 Presentation of the LeRoy E. Doggett Prize for Historical Astronomy
Jarita C. Holbrook, Chair, HAD Prize Committee.
4:35 Applied Historical Astronomy
F. Richard Stephenson, University of Durham, UK.
F. Richard Stephenson has spent most of his research career -- spanning more than 45 years -- studying various aspects of Applied Historical Astronomy. The aim of this interdisciplinary subject is the application of historical astronomical records to the investigation of problems in modern astronomy and geophysics. Stephenson has almost exclusively concentrated on pre-telescopic records, especially those preserved from ancient and medieval times-the earliest reliable observations dating from around 700 BC. The records which have mainly interested him are of eclipses (both solar and lunar), supernovae, sunspots and aurorae, and Halley's Comet. The main sources of early astronomical data are fourfold: records from ancient and medieval East Asia (China, together with Korea and Japan); ancient Babylon; ancient and medieval Europe; and the medieval Arab world. A feature of Stephenson's research is the direct consultation of early astronomical texts in their original language-either working unaided or with the help of colleagues. He has also developed a variety of techniques to help interpret the various observations. Most pre-telescopic observations are very crude by present-day standards. In addition, early motives for skywatching were more often astrological rather than scientific. Despite these drawbacks, ancient and medieval astronomical records have two remarkable advantages over modern data. Firstly, they can enable the investigation of long-term trends (e.g. in the terrestrial rate of rotation), which in the relatively short period covered by telescopic observations are obscured by short-term fluctuations. Secondly, over the lengthy time-scale which they cover, significant numbers of very rare events (such as Galactic supernovae) were reported, which have few-if any-counterparts in the telescopic record. In his various researches, Stephenson has mainly focused his attention on two specific topics. These are: (i) long-term changes in the Earth's rate of rotation-as revealed by both timed and untimed eclipse observations-and (ii) historical supernovae. These subjects will form the main theme of his AAS lecture.
5:20 End of session.
HAD VI History of Astronomy
Session #209: Tuesday, 7 Jan 2014, 10:00–11:30 a.m., National Harbor 3
Session Chair: Jay M. Pasachoff, Williams College
10:00 1. The Recurrent Nova T CrB; Two Discoveries from the 102,000 Magnitude Light Curves from 1855 to 2013 in Johnson B & V
Bradley E. Schaefer, Louisiana State University.
Recurrent Nova T CrB erupted in 1866 and was the first well-observed nova eruption. The modern concept of nova developed only in the early 1900s, but many observers kept track of this mysterious variable. With a curious anticipatory warning from Leslie Peltier in 1945, T CrB erupted again in 1946. Recurrent novae are popularly featured as the solution to the supernova progenitor problem, so I collected an exhaustive historical light curve of T CrB from 1855–2013. I have collected magnitudes from dusty logbooks at the RAS, AAVSO, and Cambridge, and measured its brightness from archival plates in Sonneberg, Harvard, and Bamberg. More magnitudes have been pulled from the very-obscure early literature as well as from visual archives worldwide (primarily AAVSO). It is critical that these magnitudes (in visual, V, photographic, and B systems) all be correctly reduced to the modern Johnson B & V systems, and this was done by tracking down the original comparison stars and deriving the correct color terms for application to both T CrB and its comparison stars. These techniques are new, and I have never seen anyone apply such corrections to historical data. The result is a well-sampled light curve with 3100 V magnitudes from 1855–1946, 98400 V-magnitudes from 1946–2013, and 2500 B magnitudes from 1890–2013. Two new discoveries have come from all this historical data: (1) T CrB had a large and sharp increase in its orbital period across its 1946 eruption by 0.046%, implying a mass ejection of close to 0.00060 solar masses. Thus, the white dwarf ejected much more mass in 1946 than it accreted from 1866–1946, and T CrB is not a supernova progenitor. (2) Across both eruptions, T CrB was in a high state (1.0 mag bright in B) from T-8 to T-1 years and T+0 to T+8 years with sharp transitions. The well-known and still-mysterious second eruption at T+0.4 years is superposed on this high state. The drop from high to low state just before the eruption appears to be causally connected to the eruption. This phenomenon is completely unprecedented and unique, now providing a challenge to theorists.
10:15 2. Barnard’s Star: Planets or Pretense
Jennifer L. Bartlett, U.S. Naval Observatory and Philip A. Ianna, University of Virginia.
Barnard’s Star remains popular with planet hunters because it is not only an extremely near, high proper motion star, but also the object of early planet-detection claims. In 1963, van de Kamp explained perturbations in its proper motion by the presence of a planet. In 1969, he produced another single-planet solution and a two-planet solution to the astrometric wobbles detected. At least 19 studies have failed to confirm his results using a range of techniques, including radial velocity, direct imaging, and speckle interferometry. However, most of them lacked the sensitivity to detect the planets he described, including astrometric studies at the McCormick and Naval Observatories. However, radial-velocity monitoring of Barnard’s Star at Lick and Keck Observatories from 1987 through 2012 appears to have ruled out such planets.
Based upon observations made at the Sproul Observatory between 1916 and 1962, van de Kamp claimed that Barnard’s Star had a planet with about 1.6 times the mass of Jupiter and an orbital period of 24 years. After accounting for instrumentation effects that might have been partially responsible for his initial results, he continued to assert that this red dwarf had two planets. In his 1982 analysis of ~20,000 exposures collected between 1938 and 1981, he calculated that two planets with 0.7- and 0.5-Jupiter masses in 12- and 20-year orbits, respectively, orbited the second-closest stellar system to our own.
Starting in 1995, the dramatic successes of radial velocity searches for extrasolar planets drove van de Kamp’s unsubstantiated claims from popular consciousness. Although many low-mass stellar companions were discovered through astrometry, the technique has been less successful for planets: “The Extrasolar Planets Encyclopaedia” identifies one such discovery out of the 997 planets listed on 2013 September 23. Although Barnard’s Star has lost its pretensions to hosting the first extrasolar planets known, its intrinsic properties will keep it under observation.
NSF grant AST 98-20711, Litton Marine Systems, Levinson Fund, University of Virginia, Hampden-Sydney College, and US Naval Observatory supported this research.
10:30 3. The Instability of Astrophysics Witnessed in the Twentieth Century
Martin Harwit, Cornell University.
Scientific progress entails instabilities that advance a field; but excessive instability, often arising from misunderstandings, thwarts planning and adds cost. The history of 20th century astronomy provides insight on several factors that make astronomy and astrophysics exceptionally unstable. A fundamental source of instability is astronomy’s inability, sometimes for decades at a time, to pursue discoveries of rare events systematically. Such delays inject levels of uncertainty in an observational science that are more readily avoided in the experimental sciences. Beneficial instabilities can arise through the import of novel theories and tools from sister sciences, industry or the military. Such imports, however, can also destabilize the field. Astronomy comprises many distinct disciplines, which need to interact coherently for a broader understanding of the Cosmos to emerge. As the complexity of these disciplines’ undertakings increases, and their respective uses of tools and vocabularies diverge, misunderstandings arise to threaten coherence. Misinformation can then cascade back and forth, with consequences similar to those of failures in electrical power grinds and financial meltdowns. A balance needs to be sought, which protects astrophysics against such failures, while permitting ready discourse so the whole field can benefit from genuine advances in its respective disciplines. I will discuss means by which the benefits of instabilities advancing the field may be retained while avoiding more damaging instabilities.
10:45 4. The Largest Feasible Steerable Telescope
Kenneth I. Kellermann and Ellen N. Bouton, National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
Ever since Grote Reber built a 32-ft steerable dish in 1937, successive generations of radio astronomers world-wide have designed larger and larger fully steerable filled aperture radio telescopes to address a variety of astronomical questions. Paced by the giant 250-ft radio telescope that was built at Jodrell Bank, starting in the 1950’s NRAO, Caltech, and Smithsonian radio astronomers have discused the construction of a series of large steerable dishes ranging in size up to 600-ft in diameter. Although the need for a large steerable radio telescope was repeatedly recognized by the series of NRC decade reviews of astronomy, they were never given the highest priority and were never funded. Meanwhile, in the 1960s and 1970s the Parkes 64-m and the German 100-m telescopes became operational. A freak 1989 accident that caused the collapse of the 300-ft Green Bank transit telescope, led directly to the construction of the 100-m Green Bank Telescope with its novel unblocked aperture and adaptive surface, although by 1989, the 300-ft telescope had long outlived its designed lifetime, and had already been recommended for closure.
11:00 5. Radio Frequency Interference and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Sierra Smith, National Radio Astronomy Observatory.
Radio frequency interference (RFI) and radio astronomy have been closely linked since the emergence of radio astronomy as a scientific discipline in the 1930s. Even before the official establishment of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, protection against contemporary and future radio noise levels was seen as crucial to ensure success of any new observatory. My talk will examine the various local, regional, national, and international efforts enacted to protect NRAO and other American radio astronomy sites from RFI.
11:10 6. Hubble Space Telescope: The Real ‘First Light’ Observation
G. Fritz Benedict and B. McArthur, University of Texas, Austin.
To prove that a telescope will meet the design specifications laid down years previously, that it will eventually produce the science envisioned by those designers, they make a ‘first light’ observation, assess it, and pronounce “Here is our new telescope! It works!” That observation is often made with an instrument on the telescope that goes on to make many scientifically productive discoveries. The official Hubble Space Telescope (HST) first light image was secured by the Wide Field Planetary Camera on 5/20/1990, certainly a productive science instrument. The HST Fine Guidance Sensors (FGS), white-light interferometers, have an essential role to play in any scientific observation made with HST. They stabilize HST by locking onto guide stars. The Fine Guidance Sensors (FGS) have on their own produced useful and exciting astrometric scientific results ranging from parallaxes of Galactic Cepheids useful for the cosmic distance scale (Benedict et al. 2007, AJ, 133, 1810) to a demonstration of the degree of coplanarity in an exoplanetary system (McArthur et al. 2010, ApJ, 715, 1203). Hence, we argue that an FGS made the actual first light observation shortly after midnight on 1 May 1990 by successfully locking onto the V=12.97 star GSC 02666-01602. That FGS observation demonstrated light passing through the HST entire optical system and HST tracking. With a little (well, actually quite a lot of) tweaking, scientific results would surely flood forth. However, on May Day 1990 locking success was oddly sporadic. We had a few weeks more to enjoy our blissful ignorance of flapping solar panels and a mis-figured primary mirror, both of which contributed that night to our true first light observation problems. The events of that night and subsequent successful FGS astrometry are thanks to contributions over the years from L. Abramowicz-Reed, A. Bradley*, R. Duncombe, O. Franz, L. Fredrick, P. Hemenway, W. Jefferys, E. Nelan*, P. Shelus, D. Story*, W. van Altena, L. Wasserman*, and A. Whipple, some of whom (*) were lucky enough to be there with McArthur and Benedict early on May Day 1990.
11:20 7. The National Science Foundation and the History of Science
Marc Rothenberg, National Science Foundation.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is the major funder of the history of science in the United States. Between 1958 and 2010, the NSF program for the history of science has given 89 awards in the history of astronomy. This paper analyzes the award recipients and subject areas of the awards and notes significant shifts in the concentration of award recipients and the chronological focus of the research being funded.
11:30 End of session.
HAD VII Oral History Project
Session #259 Tuesday, 7 Jan 2014, 2:00–2:15 p.m., National Harbor 3
Session Chair: Joseph S. Tenn, Sonoma State University
2:00 1. The HAD Oral History Project
Jarita C. Holbrook, University of the Western Cape, Republic of South Africa.
The Historical Astronomy Division is the recipient of an American Institute of Physics Niels Bohr Library Grant for Oral History. HAD has assembled a team of volunteers to conduct oral history interviews since May 2013. Each oral history interview varies in length between two and six hours. This presentation is an introduction to the HAD Oral History Project and the activities of the team during the first six months of the grant.
HAD Workshop: Oral History Interviewing Techniques
Tuesday, 7 Jan 2014, 2:15–3:30 p.m., National Harbor 3
Session Chair: Gregory Good, AIP Center for History of Physics
3:30 End of session.
AAS Plenary Session: Gemant Award Lecture*
Session #437 Thursday, 9 Jan 2014, 3:40–4:30 p.m., Potomac Ballroom A
Session Chair: Catherine O'Riordan, AIP
3:40 1. Star Trek: The Search for the First Alleged Crab Supernova Rock Art
E.C. Krupp, Griffith Observatory.
Since the 1950s, star/crescent combinations in prehistoric rock art in the American Southwest have become broadly accepted as eyewitness records of the Crab supernova explosion, a spectacular event visible in 1054 A.D. For more than three decades, images of this "supernova" rock art have routinely appeared in astronomy textbooks, in popular articles, on websites, and in television programs. As this Crab supernova interpretation became more fashionable, Griffith Observatory Director E.C. Krupp began a long-term effort to inspect each of these sites in person. His field work eventually led him, in 2008, to the two sites in northern Arizona that started this cottage industry in supernova rock art, sites that had been lost and had not been revisited for 50 years. Developments in the study of rock art, Pueblo Indian iconography, and Pueblo ceremonialism have permitted a greater appreciation of the role of the sky in the ancient Southwest. The best known star/crescent sites are surveyed to clarify the discipline required for cross-disciplinary research. Through this exploration of an aspect of the relationship between astronomy and culture, the presentation acknowledges the intent of American Institute of Physics Andrew Gemant Award.
4:30 End of session.
*Historical lecture, not a HAD presentation.
Complete program of 2014 AAS/HAD meeting