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January 2009 HAD Meeting Abstracts

HAD I Special: History of the Telescope

Session 200: Sunday, 4 Jan 2009, 2:00–6:00 p.m.
Session Chair: Peter Abrahams, Portland, OR

Description: A selection of topics related to the history of the telescope. This session marks both the quadricentennial of Lipperhey’s telescope of 1608, the first documented telescope; and the inauguration of telescopic astronomy by Harriot and Galileo in 1609.

1. Early American Telescopes
Sara Schechner, Harvard University.
Focusing on New England, this paper will examine the distribution and use of the telescope in America from colonial times until the end of the 18th century. We will find that most telescopes of the period were imported and prized possessions. I will discuss who owned these telescopes and how they acquired them; the uses to which telescopes were put; and how the instruments were kept operational.

2. The Rise of Commercial Telescope Making in 19th Century America
Kenneth J. Launie, Zink Imaging, Inc.
Very few telescopes were made in America in the 18th century; astronomers needed to rely on distant European makers. While there is evidence of a few American craftsman-made telescopes that were shown at early to mid-19th century Mechanics’ Fairs, Massachusetts native Amasa Holcomb appears to have been the first to offer them for sale commercially. Most of Holcomb's instruments were Herschelian reflectors with speculum metal mirrors. Henry Fitz started his optical career by making mirrors used for the first Daguerreotype portrait cameras, and by the mid 1840’s he was offering refractors of ever-increasing size. Not long after Fitz started, Alvan Clark began selling telescopes, and the premature death of Fitz in 1863 may have aided Alvan Clark and Sons’ rise to prominence. The later decades of the 1800s saw a dramatic increase in the number of college observatories, and with that came more manufacturers to supply the demand.

3. Pervenit in Astra: Scaling the Stars at the U.S. Naval Observatory, 1845 to the Present
Geoff Chester, US Naval Observatory.
In the spring of 1845 LT Matthew Fontaine Maury and his assistants began regular observations of the stars from their newly-completed observatory in Washington’s “Foggy Bottom” district. Initially conceived to support celestial navigation for the U.S. Navy, the “Washington Observatory” used a variety of transit instruments and a 9.6-inch Merz equatorial telescope to chart the positions of navigational stars, determine a reference time-scale for rating chronometers, and measuring the positions of planetary satellites and double stars. During the course of the next 160 years the Observatory grew, not only in the size of its staff and instruments, but in the scope of its mission as well. Today the United States Naval Observatory is considered to be the world’s foremost authority on time-scales, celestial reference frames, and fundamental astrometry. Thanks to an extensive archive of manuscripts, observing logs, and correspondence, we have an intimate look at the development of instruments needed to meet the Observatory’s requirements. I shall present an examination of the development of these instruments in their historic context, and briefly discuss the modern successors to these early “scalers of the stars”.

4. The 40-Foot Solar Eclipse Camera of the Lick Observatory
John C. Pearson & Wayne Orchiston, James Cook University, Australia.
The primary goal of the Lick Observatory’s direct solar eclipse photography program was to secure high-resolution images of coronal detail that was visible only during the brief moments of a total eclipse of the Sun. Obtaining a wide range of plate scales of the eclipsed Sun became a vital necessity in accomplishing this objective. Cameras and telescopes with unique pedigrees—some of which were originally intended for other astronomical and non-astronomical duties—were put to the test.
The Lick Observatory sent seventeen eclipse expeditions worldwide beginning January 1889 and ending in 1932. Direct coronal photography was a significant part of the program and continued to the end of the expedition series. These expeditions occurred at a time when little was known about coronal content, motion within the corona or the forces that shaped the corona. Early successful attempts by E.E. Barnard, S.W. Burnham and J.M. Schaeberle to obtain coronal photographs with increasing image size and resolution set the stage for Schaeberle. He designed what would become the hallmark of the Observatory’s expeditions, a camera of 5-inches aperture with a 40-foot focal length. It was this instrument which set the new standard for high-resolution eclipse imaging. By the end of the expeditions, new generation cameras originally intended for Vulcan searches and Einstein theory of relativity verification imaging replaced the 40-foot camera for coronal photography. This paper will present the cameras, their operators, views of the instruments at the various eclipse sites, a sample of the images produced and a summary of the Lick Observatory’s most significant contributions to coronal science.

5. The Strasbourg Large Refractor and Dome: Significant Improvements and Failed Attempts
André Heck, Strasbourg Astronomical Observatory, France.
Founded by the German Empire in the late 19th century, Strasbourg Astronomical Observatory featured several novelties from the start. According to Mueller (1978), the separation of observing buildings from the study area and from the astronomers’ residence was a revolution in observatory construction. The instruments were, as much as possible, isolated from the vibrations of the buildings themselves. “Gas flames” and water were used to reduce temperature effects. Thus the Large Dome (ca 11-m diameter), housing the Large Refractor (ca 49-cm, then the largest in Germany) and covered by zinc over wood, could be cooled down by water running from the top. Reports (including by the French who took over the observatory after World War I) are however somehow inexistent on the effective usage and actual efficiency of such a system (which must have generated locally a significant amount of humidity). The paper will detail these technical attempts as well as the specificities of the instruments installed in that new observatory intended as a showcase of German astronomy.

6. A New Way of Looking: The Amateur Telescope Making Movement in 1920’s America
Gary L. Cameron, Iowa State University.
The hobby of astronomy in America was restricted largely to a relatively few well-off persons prior to the 1920’s in part due to the difficulty in acquiring adequate instruments. Even modest telescopes were quite expensive and very few in number. The standard "beginner's" instrument was a three-inch diameter refracting telescope, precision crafted by expert manufacturers. Early Twentieth-century astronomy popularizers recognized the problem of availability of instruments and saw that this hindered growth of the hobby. The idea of making one's own telescope was limited to a hardy few with the time, equipment, machining skills, and information required and very few attempted the task. This situation changed dramatically by the late 1920’s due to the publication of a series of articles in Scientific American that provided detailed, practical instructions for a six-inch Newtonian reflecting telescope, a project well within the means and skills of the average “handyman”. Publication of these articles initiated a profound change in perception for amateur astronomers, who quickly became amateur telescope makers as well, creating precision instruments for themselves and in part leading to a widening of the amateur astronomy hobby and interest in astronomy generally. This paper forms a portion of a doctoral dissertation being written by the author.

7. A Case Study in the Development of Wide-field Photographic Telescopes: The Harvard and then Harvard/Smithsonian Meteor Camera Networks
David H. DeVorkin, Smithsonian Institution

Capturing meteor trails on film at more than one station at a time, for use in triangulating meteor heights and studying the properties of the upper atmosphere, was one of several motivations for developing fast wide-field photographic systems in astronomy. Here we will examine the development of systems in the 20th Century, first at Harvard and then after the Smithsonian joined Harvard in the 1950s. We will cover the work of Fred Whipple from the 1930s through the Prairie Network of the 1960s and 1970s, especially how he modified his techniques to address means to track artificial satellites. This historical research benefits from support by the National Science Foundation and by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

8. The Kitt Peak 2.1-meter Telescope: An Unusually Innovative Telescope
Helmut A. Abt, Kitt Peak National Observatory
The 2.1-meter telescope (1964) had the following innovations: (1) an unusually fast f/2.6 primary and f/8 Cassegrain focus that allowed for a small cheaper dome, (2) Ritchey-Chretien coma-free optics, (3) a Pyrex mirror made with the slumping process that was ground and polished in 1.5 years, (4) a flip-top secondary allowing 5-minute conversion between Cassegrain and coudé foci, and (5) fast high-resolution spectrographs. Those features led to the discovery of the Lyman-alpha forest, the first gravitational lens, the first pulsating white dwarf, and the realization that most solar-like stars have companions. Such discoveries were possible because of (1) fast high-resolution equipment, (2) competitive time scheduling, and (3) relatively long observing runs that allowed for experimentation.

9. Conceiving and Marketing NASA’s Great Observatories
Martin Harwit, Cornell University.
In late 1984, Dr. Charles P. (Charlie) Pellerin Jr., director of the Astrophysics Division of NASA's Office of Space Science and Applications (OSSA) faced a dilemma. Congress and the White House had given approval to work that would lead to the launch of the Gamma Ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope, but competing segments of the astronomical community were clamoring for two additional missions, the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF) and the Advanced X-ray Astrophysics Facility (AXAF). Pellerin knew that Congress would not countenance a request for another costly astronomical space observatory so soon after approving GRO and HST. He also foresaw that if he arbitrarily assigned priority to either AXAF or SIRTF he would split the astronomical community. The losing faction would be up on Capitol Hill, lobbying Congress to reverse the decision; and Congress would do what it always does with split communities—nothing. Pellerin called a meeting of leading astrophysicists to see how a persuasive argument could be made for both these new observatories and to market them as vital to a first comprehensive inventory of the universe conducted across all wavelength ranges. The group provided Pellerin a rotating membership of astrophysicists, who could debate and resolve issues so that decisions he reached would have solid community support. It also helped him to market his ideas in Congress. Ultimately, the concept of the Great Observatories came to be accepted; but its implementation faced myriad difficulties. False starts, political alliances that never worked out, and dramatic changes of direction necessitated by the Challenger disaster of early 1986 continually kept progress off balance. My paper follows these twists and turns from late 1984 to the announcement, on February 1, 1988, that President Reagan’s FY89 budget proposal to Congress had designated AXAF for a new start.

10. Life Cycle of a Large Telescope: the David Dunlap Observatory
Richard Jarrell, York University, Canada.
When it went into operation in 1935, the 74-inch reflector at the David Dunlap Observatory was the world’s second largest and most sophisticated telescope. Designed specifically for stellar spectroscopy, almost all work performed with it until the early 1950s was limited to that specialty. Most University of Toronto staff were expected to contribute to the observatory’s programme. However, as the staff expanded and newer research specialties were introduced, the telescope had to be refitted with new auxiliary equipment, or not be used at all. By the late 1960s, the observatory’s night sky began to deteriorate due to light pollution from uncontrolled urban growth. While limited work could be performed into the 1990s, the telescope was no longer considered “large;” far more powerful, versatile instruments at much superior sites were by then available. That Toronto astronomers had moved on can be demonstrated from their publication records. The end came in 2008 when the University of Toronto decided that the land’s value could be used to support astronomical research in a broader sense. In response, the community, which had ignored the observatory for most of its history, and a few dissident astronomers, strongly defended its survival on a number of grounds. The narrative suggests a number of life-cycle stages: 1) maximum use of the instrument due to superior environmental and technical conditions, plus staff homogeneity; 2) application of new technologies to extend the instrument's capability in the face of diversifying research interests and decaying environmental factors; 3) fading value due to obsolescence and poor environmental factors; 4) death or metamorphosis (such as becoming an educational or historical institution). It appears that these phases apply to a number of historical cases. It is not clear, for the Dunlap Observatory, how the fourth phase will play out.

11. Sad Tales of the Deaths of Telescopes (And a Few Revivals)
Virginia Trimble, University of California, Irvine & Las Cumbres Observatory.
Detailed statistics of papers and citations gathered with the full range of astronomical instrumentation in 1960-64 and 2001-05 reveal a characteristic lifetime for telescopes close to the length of an astronomical career, with a rise in paper numbers over 1-5 years, a period of peak productivity, and gradual, or occasionally sharp, decline. Revivals appear to be associated at least as much with significant new ideas as with new instruments, for instance the use of the Lick 120" for exoplanet searches, the AAT for the 2dF survey, and the focus of Parkes on pulsars. Other topics to be mentioned include an analogy between the Mt. Wilson 100" and HST, the contrasting roles of the 74" Radcliffe in South Africa and of five other 69-75" telescopes (2 Canadian, and one each in JS, Japan, and Australia), differences in the life cycles of radio, optical, and space-based facilities, and my favorite triple life-and-death instrument, the Great Melbourne Telescope. There will be pictures of as many familiar and unfamiliar telescopes as time permits. Astronomers in different countries and at different kinds of institutions do not operate on a level playing field, and inequality has changed very little in 40 years.

HAD II Special: Photometry: Past and Present

Session 202: Monday, 5 Jan 2009, 10:00–11:30 a.m.
Session Chair: Thomas A. Hockey, University of Northern Iowa.

Description: These sessions and associated papers in other sessions deal with the development of astronomical photometry. The goal is to describe and discuss the achievement of precision and accuracy from the photovisual and photographic era to the present CCD age. Both instruments and techniques are to be discussed. Thus photoelectric photometers and photometry will be highlighted, especially the dual-beam instruments commonly referred to as "two-star" photometers, but developed also for use in the planetary sciences. We also describe the development of CCD photometry as a means to precise flux measurements. The importance of photometric standardization was demonstrated in May, 2006 when a well-attended meeting on this topic was held in Blankenberge, Belgium, and this topic will be covered in several of the papers. Although the main purpose is to discuss the historical significance of visual photometry, the infrared will be covered in at least two of the talks.

1. Astronomical Photometric Precision and Differential Photometers
E. F. Milone, University of Calgary, Canada, J. W. Pel, University of Groningen, Netherlands, & C. Sterken,Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium.
The purpose of this session is to describe and discuss the development of astronomical photometry to provide increasingly useful tests of astrophysical theories. It will focus on the achievement of precision and accuracy, and span the interval from the photovisual and photographic era to the present CCD age. Both instruments and techniques are to be discussed, and discussion will include photometric systems and transformations, absolute calibration, spectrophotometry, and polarimetry. In this paper, the achievements and promise of improved photometric precision will include discussions of passbands, extinction, and standardization techniques in both the visual and the infrared. The infrared photometry discussion will highlight the improvements attainable by a careful choice of passbands. In the second part of this paper, we emphasize differential photometry, especially the dual-beam instruments commonly referred to as two-star photometers from the Princeton visual polarizing photometer, through the pioneering work by Th. Walraven in the development of precise differential photometry techniques, to the chopping, gated, pulse-counting Rapid Alternate Detection System (RAO) used at the Rothney Astrophysical Observatory.
This work has been supported in part by grants from NSERC of Canada to EFM. We acknowledge the help and contributions of Andrew T. Young in presenting this material.

2. The Increasing Photometric Precision of CCD Observations
Steve B. Howell, WIYN/NOAO.
CCDs first entered service in astronomy in the early 1980's. These early imaging cameras were fantastic compared with previous photometric instruments but horrible by todays standards. With read noise levels of 350 electrons being common and good computers and techniques to deal with digital images scarce, early photometric measurements were limited in their precision. The development of lower noise devices, better CCD controllers, and differential measurement techniques produced a boon in the photometric precision available and routinely reached today by the typical observer. A new suite of CCD detector types, new observational methods, and clever software have led to todays production of amazing photometric precision values, opening the door to new areas of scientific study such as exo-planet transits and detailed searches for low amplitude stellar pulsations. The historical development of precision photometry and the state of the art in the modern era will be discussed.

3. Absolute Photometry in Astronomy from UV to Mid-infrared
Martin Cohen, University of California at Berkeley.
I review efforts to make absolute measurements in astronomy over the wavelength interval from UV to mid-infrared (MIR). These have involved a variety of facilities: space-based, airborne, and ground-based, and a range of techniques. Of interest are the absolute uncertainties that have been attained by these techniques and the degree to which linkage between different spectral regimes has been achieved. From these efforts it has been possible to develop large networks of calibration stars that have supported MIR missions and observatories that require photometric standards and low-resolution spectroscopy. I discuss the assumptions inherent in these networks, external methods to test these products, and their absolute validation by the Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX). These networks provide a common absolute framework within which the calibration of multiple instruments on a given platform or sensors on different platforms can be bound together consistently. These stars offer an environment in which absolute multi-wavelength astronomical data can be intermingled without the need to apply photometric transformations or offsets between datasets from distinct facilities or wavelength regions. These stellar networks currently underpin NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, Japan’s AKARI, and will support the next NASA IR launch, the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). Another approved development addresses the critical need to link optical and near-infrared calibrations for future dark energy missions.
Support for my calibration work came from AFRL for MSX; SAO for Spitzer/IRAC and NASA via UCLA for WISE.

HAD III Special: Photometry: Past and Present (continued)

Session 209: Monday, 5 Jan 2009, 2:00–3:30 p.m.
Session Chair: Eugene F. Milone, University of Calgary, Canada.

4. Johnson Photometry and its Descendants
Arlo Landolt, Louisiana State University.
There will be an exploration of standardization practices, procedures, and achievements through use of the Johnson originated photometric system.
This work has been supported in recent years by the National Science Foundation.

5. Spectrophotometry: Past and Present
Saul J. Adelman, The Citadel.
I describe the rise of optical region spectrophotometry in the 1960’s and 1970’s when it achieved a status as a major tool in stellar research through its decline and near demise at present. With absolutely calibrated fluxes and Balmer profiles usually of H-gamma, astronomers used model atmospheres predictions to find both the effective temperatures and surface gravities of many stars. Spectrophotometry as I knew it was photometrically calibrated low dispersion spectroscopy with a typical resolution of order 25 A. A typical data set consists of 10 to 15 values covering most of the optical spectral region. The strengths and shortcomings of the rotating grating scanners are discussed. The accomplishments achieved using spectrophotometric data, which were obtained with instruments using photomultipliers, are reviewed. Extensions to other spectral regions are noted and attempts to use observations from space to calibrate the optical region will be discussed. There are two steps to fully calibrate flux data. The first requires the calibration of the fluxes of one or more standard stars against sources calibrated absolutely in a laboratory. The use of Vega as the primary standard has been both a blessing as it is so bright and a curse especially as modeling it correctly requires treating it as a fast rotating star seen nearly pole-on. At best its calibration has errors of about 1%. The other step is to apply extinction corrections for the Earth’s atmosphere and then calibrate the fluxes using the fluxes of standard stars. Now the ASTRA Spectrophotometer promises a revitalization of the use and availability of optical flux data. Its design specifications included solutions to the problems of past optical spectrophotometric instruments.

6. Measurement of Polarized Light in Astronomy
Pierre Bastien, Université de Montreal, Canada.
Polarimetry is an observational technique closely related to photometry. When it is well done, polarimetry is in fact differential photometry. I will review some polarimeters that made an impact in astronomy through the years, starting with the polarimeter built by Arago and up to current polarimeters being built now.

Invited Plenary Session: Donald E. Osterbrock Memorial Lecture

Session 104: Monday, 5 Jan 2009, 4:30–5:20 p.m.
Session Chair: Sara Schechner, Harvard University.

Van Gogh’s Starry Nights, Lincoln’s Moon, Shakespeare’s Stars, and More: Tales of Astronomy in Art, History, and Literature
Donald W. Olson, Texas State University, San Marcos.
How do astronomical methods make it possible to calculate dates and times for Vincent van Gogh's night-sky paintings? Why is there a blood-red sky in Edvard Munch’s The Scream? How can the 18.6-year cycle of the lunar nodes and the Moon’s declination on the night of August 29-30, 1857, explain a long-standing mystery about Abraham Lincoln’s honesty in the murder case known as the almanac trial? Why is a bright star described in Act 1, Scene 1, of Hamlet? There is a long tradition of astronomical methods employed to analyze works of art, to understand historical events, and to elucidate passages in literature. Both Edmond Halley and George Biddell Airy calculated lunar phases and tide tables in attempts to determine the landing beach where Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55 B.C. Henry Norris Russell computed configurations of Jupiter and Saturn to determine a date for a 14th-century celestial event mentioned in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde. In this tradition, our Texas State group has published a series of articles in Sky & Telescope over the last two decades, applying astronomy to art, history, and literature. Don Osterbrock worked with us 3 years ago when my students and I calculated dates for moonrise photographs taken by Ansel Adams in Yosemite National Park. The peaks of the Sierra Nevada crest in Yosemite are more than 125 miles from Lick Observatory, but the mountains can become visible from Lick on clear winter days and were photographed from there on early infrared-sensitive plates during the 1920s and 1930s. As we tested our topographic software by identifying the peaks that appear in the Lick plates, it was a pleasure to come to know Don, a former director of Lick Observatory and the person in whose honor this talk is dedicated.

HAD IV History — Modern

Session 320: Tuesday, 6 Jan 2009, 10:00–11:30 a.m.
Session Chair: Joseph S. Tenn, Sonoma State University

1. Halley’s Discovery of Stellar Proper Motion: The Aldebaran Problem
John C. Brandt, University of New Mexico.
Halley (1717) compared contemporary positions of Arcturus, Sirius, and Aldebaran with the ancient positions recorded in the Almagest (Book VII 3) and attributed to Timocharis, Hipparcus, and Ptolemy. He found that these stars had apparently moved southward by more than 30 arc minutes and concluded that these stars had their own particular motions. Modern proper motion measurements are consistent with this conclusion for Arcturus and Sirius, but are not even close for Aldebaran. While some authors (Fomenko et al. 1993; Evans 1998) are aware of the problem, it generally is not mentioned in books on the history of astronomy (e.g., Clerke 1908; Pannekoek 1961; Neugebauer 1975) or in the major biographies of Halley (Armitage 1966; Ronan 1969; Lancaster-Brown 1985; Cook 1998). None of the possibilities for resolving this problem—errors in the ancient and/or the 17th-18th century positions; errors in Halley’s calculations; or misidentification of the star—seem plausible and final resolution may require locating the original calculations in Halley’s papers.

2. Pre-Venus-Transit Dark Lunar Eclipse Reveals a Very Large Volcanic Eruption in 1761
Kevin Pang, Pang and Associates.
Kepler’s third law states Sun-planet distances in AU. International observations of the solar parallax during the 1761/1769 Venus transits gave us the first AU in miles. Benjamin Franklin promoted American participation in the project. While serving as Ambassador to France he observed that a “dry fog” from the 1783 Laki eruption in Iceland had obscured the Sun, and led to a cold summer and winter. Using Benjamin Franklin’s method I analyzed photometric observations of the dark lunar eclipse made just before the 1761 Venus transit, ice core, tree ring, and Chinese weather data, and conclude that a very large previously unknown volcanic eruption in early 1761 had cooled the world climate. Observers worldwide found the 18 May 1761 totally eclipsed Moon very dark or invisible, e.g., Wargentin could not see the Moon for 38 minutes even with a 2-ft telescope (Phil. Trans. 52, 208, 1761-1762). Since the totally eclipsed Moon is illuminated only by sunlight refracted by the Earth’s atmosphere, the obscuration must have been very severe. Ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica have large sulfuric acid contents in 1761-1762, precipitated from the global volcanic acid cloud (Zeilinski, J. Geophys. Res. 102, 26625, 1997). Frost-damaged rings in American bristlecone pines confirm that 1761 was very cold (LaMarche, Nature 307, 121, 1984). Contemporary Chinese chronicles report that heavy sustained snow fell from the Tropic of Cancer to the Yellow River. Wells and rivers froze, e.g., Taihu “Great Lake” and nearby Yangtze tributaries were not navigable. Innumerable trees, birds and livestock perished, etc. All observations are consistent with the above conclusion. Finally Benjamin Franklin’s criteria for a climate-altering volcanic eruption are still universally used. Moreover his legacy continues to inspire climate researchers. See Pang, Eos 74, no. 43, 106, 1993; and as cited in “Earth in Balance,” Al Gore, p. 379, 1993.

3. The Pierce-Blitzstein Photometer — The PBPHOT
Carol Ambruster, Villanova University, A. B. Hull, Tinsley Large Optics, R. H. Koch, University of Pennsylvania, R. J. Mitchell, Gravic, Inc., & R. E. Smith, University of Pennsylvania.
This report describes the inception, development and extensive use (over 50 years) of the simultaneous 2-source, pulse-counting photometer named after the two astronomers in this paper’s title. These men are not, however, the only personalities associated with the lifetime of the photometer from 1952 to 2007 and the contributions of other people are explicitly recognized. The embellishments and upgrades over time of the original conceptions are detailed for both the optical/mechanical/electrical hardware and the software. The opportunities and limitations of the three observing stations where this photometer and its prototypes were tested and functioned and the telescopes upon which they were mounted are also discussed and compared.

4. Front-line Recurrent Nova Science Requires Century Old Data
Bradley E. Schaefer, Louisiana State University.
The identity of the progenitor systems for Type Ia supernovae has been a big problem for forty years. This has recently risen to high importance for all the supernova cosmology programs where the progenitor needs to be known for evolution corrections. A likely progenitor is the recurrent novae (RNe), in which a near-Chandrasekhar mass white dwarf is being loaded with material at a high rate. But there are two big questions for RNe as progenitors; first whether the RN death rate equals the supernova rate and second whether the white dwarf is gaining mass over each eruption cycle. For these two questions, three parameters are required to be measured for many RNe; the recurrence time, the discovery efficiency, and the pre-eruption orbital periods. Previously, these quantities have factor-of-3 errors, two orders-of-magnitude errors, and complete lack of information, respectively. The only way to find these values is with archival data. For the recurrence time, I have exhaustively searched the world’s archival plate collections and other archival records and have found seven previously-undiscovered eruptions. For the discovery efficiency, I have searched for second eruptions of “classical novae”, quantified the limits and observing cadences of archival plates, all LMC and M31 nova searches, and amateur nova hunters from 1890 to present, and tested archival data of old “classical novae” for RN indicators. My conclusion is that roughly one-third of all “classical novae” are really RNe with two-or-more eruptions in the last century. The only way to get pre-eruption orbital periods is with old archival data, for which I now have highly accurate period changes across eruptions for two RNe. In my talk, I will give the answers to whether there are enough RNe in our Local Group to produce the supernovae and whether the white dwarf is gaining mass.

5. Really Bad Astronomers
Thomas A. Hockey, University of Northern Iowa.
What happens when even Percival Lowell stops believing in your Mars observations? History can be troubling. This I learned while editing the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers (Springer, 2007). There have been astronomers who do not fit our commonly held, and clung to, conceptual model: a sociological system that sifts out generally like-minded and sensible colleagues. I refer to those individuals who (for at least a time) successfully entered the mainstream profession, but now disturb our worldview that says prosperity as a scientist usually is achieved by a rational being holding certain common values. My List of Shame includes examples from each of the last four centuries. Not “crack pot” cosmologists, these were hard-working observers for whom the end justified the means. And they all got away with it. Each person I discuss was vetted by the professional establishment of the day. Yet you will learn how to be fired from a major observatory, banned from prominent journals. But only after damage to the science is done. Be afraid.

6. Past as Prediction: Newcomb, Huxley, The Eclipse of Thales, and The Power of Science
Matthew Stanley, New York University.
The ancient eclipse of Thales was an important, if peculiar, focus of scientific attention in the 19th century. Victorian-era astronomers first used it as data with which to calibrate their lunar theories, but its status became strangely malleable as the century progressed. The American astronomer Simon Newcomb re-examined the eclipse and rejected it as the basis for lunar theory. But strangely, it was the unprecedented accuracy of Newcomb’s calculations that led the British biologist T.H. Huxley to declare the eclipse to be the quintessential example of the power of science. Huxley argued that astronomy’s ability to create “retrospective prophecy” showed how scientific reasoning was superior to religion (and incidentally, helped support Darwin’s theories). Both Newcomb and Huxley declared that prediction (of past and future) was what gave science its persuasive power. The eclipse of Thales’s strange journey through Victorian astronomy reveals how these two influential scientists made the case for the social and cultural authority of science.

HAD V History Poster Session

Session 400: Monday, 5 Jan 2009, 9:20 a.m.–6:30 p.m.

1. IYA2009USA: Cultural Astronomy and Storytelling Working Group
Jarita Holbrook, University of Arizona & IYA2009USA.
Cultural astronomy focuses on human’s relationship with the sky using the disciplinary tools of anthropology, archeology, folklore, history, and folklore—not all at the same time. The USA is one of the few nations that include cultural astronomy and storytelling under its International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA2009) activities. The working group focuses on indigenous sky knowledge; celestial stories, activities to explore the links between astronomy and culture; and on astronomers: their achievements and their academic culture. This presentation is an overview of the IYA2009USA Cultural Astronomy and Storytelling working group. Included will be our website, our goals, our projects, our outreach and dissemination strategies, and how we uniquely contribute to IYA2009.

2. Paper withdrawn

3. An Early Astronomical Observation by John Goodricke
Linda M. French, Illinois Wesleyan University.
John Goodricke (1764-1786) is one of the most intriguing and enigmatic figures in the history of astronomy. Deaf from the age of five, his observations of the light variation of Algol brought him acclaim and the Copley Medal of the Royal Society by the age of nineteen. Together with his neighbor, mentor, and distant relative Edward Pigott, he went on to discover and quantify the light variations of other stars, including Delta Cephei. Goodricke’s careful accounts of his observations, and their accuracy, remain a model of clear scientific thinking and reporting. His final derived value for the time between eclipse minima for Algol, for example, is within eight seconds of the modern value. Goodricke’s astronomical observing career is generally thought to have begun with his return to his family home in York in 1781 at the age of seventeen. His school mathematics notebook and workbook from the Warrington Academy, however, contains a detailed drawing of the sky which suggest that he was already a knowledgable observer by the age of fifteen. This drawing is presented and interpreted.

4. Four Decades of TiO/CN Classification Photometry
Robert F. Wing, Ohio State University.
Photometry on the writer’s eight-color narrow-band system has entered its 40th year. This poster, in connection with the HAD Special Session on “Photometry: Past and Present,” reviews the history of the system and its applications. Employing interference filters approximately 50 Å in width to measure the strongest bands of TiO, VO, and CN as well as continuum points in the 7000 – 11000 Å spectral region, the system is used primarily to provide two-dimensional spectral classifications for M stars. A precision of 0.1 spectral subtype is routinely obtained for normal stars of type K4.0 or later. The first two sets of filters were manufactured in 1969, and the first observations were made with the Perkins 1.8-m telescope at Lowell Observatory. A decade later, after some of the original filters had deteriorated, new filter sets were made for several individuals and observatories including KPNO and CTIO. During the 1970s, observations were made with S-1 photomultipliers and the emphasis was on bright stars. Later, with the acquisition of the more sensitive Varian LSE photocells by both KPNO and CTIO, observations extended to red giant cluster members, K and M supergiants in the Magellanic Clouds, and faint suspected Galactic supergiants. Observations were briefly interrupted when the ASCAP photometer at CTIO was taken out of service in 2001, but were resumed in 2003 with the establishment of the SMARTS consortium. Large-format filters representing the first 6 filters of the 8-color system have been acquired to allow work by CCD imaging. At least 15 observers have contributed an estimated 16,000 sets of narrow-band data for approximately 5000 different stars to date.