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January 2010 HAD Meeting Abstracts

HAD I Special: The First Century of Astronomical Spectroscopy

Session #200: Sunday, 3 Jan 2010, 2:00–5:05 p.m.
Session Chair: Joseph S. Tenn, Sonoma State University.

2:00 Description: This session observes the 150th anniversary of the beginnings of astronomical spectroscopy. John Hearnshaw will describe how it took 100 years to prove Auguste Comte wrong when he described the constitution of the stars as forever unknowable. Matthew Stanley will explain how spectroscopy changed scientists’ understanding of high level issues like the practice of science, the relationship between disciplines, and the nature of the universe. Barbara Becker will discuss William Huggins, the amateur astronomer who was a pioneer in stellar spectroscopy and who became so highly respected by professionals that he was elected president of the Royal Society. Barbara Welther will describe the work of the women who worked under E.C. Pickering at Harvard to classify the spectra of hundreds of thousands of stars. Richard Jarrell will speak on the 1910 solar conference, cooperation in stellar spectroscopy by those who measured stellar radial velocities in great numbers, and how their needs led to large reflectors. David DeVorkin will speak on Cecilia Payne, Henry Norris Russell, and the developments that led to quantitative understanding of the composition of the Sun. Vera Rubin will describe the work of Charlotte Moore Sitterly and the laboratory spectroscopists who provided data that the astronomers needed.

2:05 1. Auguste Comte’s Blunder: An Account of the First Century of Stellar Spectroscopy and How It Took One Hundred Years to Prove that Comte Was Wrong!
John B. Hearnshaw, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
In 1835 the French philosopher Auguste Comte predicted that we would never know anything about the chemical composition of stars. I will give a broad overview of the development of stellar spectroscopy, especially from about 1860. Developments in stellar spectroscopy segregated quite clearly into three main fields of endeavour: spectral classification, radial velocities and spectral analysis. After introducing the main players, I will concentrate mainly on spectral analysis, or how stellar spectroscopy one hundred years after Comte showed that quantitative information on the composition of stars was possible. The journey was quite arduous, as it required numerous developments in theoretical physics and in laboratory spectroscopy, which in turn allowed stellar spectral analysis successfully to be undertaken by the mid-20th century.

The key developments in physics that first had to be understood were in quantum and atomic theory, ionization theory, the concept of the Planck function, local thermodynamic equilibrium, the first stellar model atmospheres, line formation theory, turbulence, collisional broadening of spectral lines and the theory of radiative transfer and of the curve of growth. My talk will emphasize these close links between stellar spectroscopy and theoretical physics. In addition laboratory physics was also an essential precursor, to measure line wavelengths and oscillator strengths. Comte may have been an influential philosopher of science in his time. Perhaps his one small transgression was not to have read the works of Joseph Fraunhofer, which in the early 19th century already contained the first small clues that Comte’s assertion might be wrong.

2:45 2. Spectroscopy — So What?
Matthew Stanley, New York University.
The development of astronomical spectroscopy allowed amazing achievements in
investigating the composition and motion of celestial bodies. But even beyond specific measurements and results, the fruitfulness and practice of spectroscopy had important ramifications on a more abstract level. This paper will discuss ways in which spectroscopy inspired or boosted new theories of the atom, life, and the universe; redrew the boundaries among scientific disciplines; demonstrated the unity of terrestrial and celestial physical laws; changed what counted as scientific knowledge; and even revealed divine mysteries. Scientists and science writers from the first half-century of astronomical spectroscopy will be discussed, including James Clerk Maxwell, William Thomson (Lord Kelvin), John Tyndall, Agnes Clerke, William Huggins, and Norman Lockyer.

3:05 3. From Dilettante to Serious Amateur: William Huggins’s Move into the Inner Circle
Barbara J. Becker, University of California, Irvine.
Early in his career, like many other novice astronomers of his day, William Huggins (1824-1910) pursued a varied and opportunistic research programme. He devoted considerable time and serious attention to research problems generated by others, and to the exotic rather than the mundane. Free of the obligations and commitments that restricted his institution-bound contemporaries, he was driven by broad interests with an insatiable curiosity to explore the heavens in innovative and often technically demanding ways. How did he maximize his exposure to opportunities for new discoveries without becoming identified as a speculative or impulsive dilettante? This paper will track his move into the inner circle of serious amateurs by following the steps he took to develop a reputation for his care in making observations and for his caution in suggesting explanations for the phenomena he observed.

3:25 Break

3:45 4. Discoveries, Achievements, and Personalities of the Women Who Evolved the Harvard Classification of Stellar Spectra: Williamina Fleming, Antonia Maury, and Annie Jump Cannon
Barbara Welther, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.
In 1915, the year in which Cannon (1863-1941) completed her work of classifying stars for The Henry Draper Catalogue, she published a popular article entitled, “Pioneering in the Classification of Stellar Spectra.” In it she gave a historical overview of the field in nineteenth-century Europe. She also detailed the context for the structured and routine work she and her colleagues had been engaged in for several years in America. The motivators that kept Cannon and the other women working diligently were the exciting prospect of making new discoveries, the reward of publicity, and their own personal pride. Usually, the discoveries consisted of finding a peculiar type of spectrum and identifying the star as a nova or variable. Such a discovery often resulted in a newspaper headline about the star and a story about the discoverer. This paper will outline the contributions each woman made to the classification system, her style of working, the papers she wrote and published, and the rewards she reaped for her dedication to the field.

4:05 5. The 1910 Solar Conference, Cooperation in Stellar Spectroscopy and the Emergence of the Large Reflector

Richard Jarrell, York University, Canada.
In the early 20th century, cooperative astronomical programmes were not new: the Carte du Ciel project involved nearly twenty observatories. G.E. Hale’s International Union for Cooperation in Solar Research, forerunner of the IAU, was organized in 1904. At the 1910 meeting of the American Astronomical Society, W.W. Campbell proposed to create a committee to foster cooperation in radial velocity measurements. At the Pasadena meeting of the IUCSR, a scheme to pursue measurements of fainter stars emerged. Few observatories had telescope sufficiently powerful for the work, the new 60-inch reflector at Mount Wilson being one of the exceptions. J.S. Plaskett, of the Dominion Observatory in Ottawa, brought into this group, determined that Canada would contribute. This was the first step towards the design and construction of the Victoria 72-inch reflector, the template for a number of similar telescopes which would make significant contributions to stellar spectroscopy over the next forty years.

4:25 6. Extraordinary Claims Require Extraordinary Evidence: C. H. Payne, H. N. Russell and Standards of Evidence in Early Quantitative Stellar Spectroscopy

David H. DeVorkin, Smithsonian Institution.
The ionization equilibrium theory of Meghnad Saha was hardly four years old, and still far from general acceptance, when a graduate student at Harvard, Cecilia H. Payne, applied it to calibrate the Harvard spectral sequence as a temperature sequence. Payne indeed utilized Saha’s relation not in its original form, but in its more acceptable rederived form based upon a statistical mechanical rederivation by Milne and Fowler. Her temperature calibration was, therefore, not at issue for her mentors at Harvard, such as Harlow Shapley, and her external reviewer for her PhD, the influential Princeton astronomer Henry Norris Russell. Other conclusions she drew from her analysis, moreover, went beyond the evidence, they felt, and so she had to moderate her most provocative finding: that hydrogen dominated the atmospheres of the stars. She did so, however, in a manner that was designed to record for posterity that she was the first to make this observation, right or wrong. In so doing, Payne can be credited with profound political acumen, a quality that deserves more attention in the history of 20th century astronomy.

4:45 7. Charlotte Moore Sitterly: A Life of Spectroscopy
Vera Rubin, Carnegie Institution of Washington.
Dr. Charlotte Moore Sitterly was a scientist in an era when it was rare for a woman to have the opportunity to devote her life to forefront science. Following her graduation from Swarthmore College in 1920, she accepted a position at Princeton University as an assistant to Henry Norris Russell. In 1925 she started a study of the solar spectrum. She could then not know that she would devote much of her scientific career to gathering basic atomic data that are invaluable to the scientific community, even today. In 1931 she obtained a PhD degree at U. California, Berkeley, and returned to Princeton as a staff member of the Princeton University Observatory. In 1945 Moore moved to the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), to supervise preparation of the widely used tables of atomic energy levels. Following the successful launching (1946) of a V2 rocket to obtain the ultraviolet spectrum of the sun, Moore started working also with Richard Tousey and his group at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). Ultimately, they extended the solar spectrum down to 2200 angstroms. She continued her affiliations with both NBS and NRL until her death in 1990. Charlotte Moore was rare scientist who devoted her career to obtaining accurate numbers, thus enabling the scientific community to open her tables and know that the data are reliable.

5:05 End of session.

HAD II History Poster Papers

Session #400: Monday, 4 Jan 2010, 9:20 a.m.–6:30 p.m.

1. Historical References in "Decoding Starlight" — a Bilingual Interactive Exhibit on Spectroscopy
Mary Kay Hemenway, Univ. of Texas at Austin & F. Cianciolo, Univ. of Texas at Austin & McDonald Observatory.
"Decoding Starlight" is the name of the 2,400 square-foot, interactive, and bilingual (English/Spanish) exhibit on spectroscopy at the Frank N. Bash McDonald Observatory Visitors Center in Fort Davis, Texas. The exhibit was designed by McDonald Observatory public outreach and education staff, astronomers, Sears-Russell Consultants, Inc. of Canada and built by ExPlus, Inc. of Virginia. Spectroscopy was selected as the theme of the exhibit as well as the topic of many of the educational programs that are conducted at the Visitors Center in order to align with the mission of the largest telescope at McDonald Observatory, the Hobby-Eberly Telescope. Three major figures from the history of astronomical spectroscopy are included in the exhibit: Joseph Fraunhofer, Annie Jump Cannon, and Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin. Fraunhofer holds a prism, Cannon is positioned next to an objective prism plate, and Payne-Gaposchkin introduces a section called “Cracking the Code” that features interactive exhibits on the temperature, motion, and evolution of stars.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of NSF 96-26965 “Fingerprinting the Universe — An Interactive, Bilingual Exhibit on Spectroscopy”.

2. Did the Cross-spiked Star Appear in Art Due to Telescope Optics?
Daniel B. Caton & B. D. Hensley, Appalachian State Univ.
Most of early art that still survives shows stars as amorphous blobs or with spikes of no particular geometry. We are investigating the possibility that more recent artistic renditions of stars having dominant crossed spikes originated with the advent of reflecting telescopes with a secondary mirror support spider that causes diffraction spikes, particularly in photographic images. We will report on the conclusions reached so far.

3. Urania in the Marketplace: Astronomical Imagery in Early Twentieth-Century Advertizing
Kenneth S. Rumstay, Valdosta State Univ.
The pages of popular magazines such as Sky and Telescope and Astronomy are filled with advertisements for telescopes and other equipment. However, during the past century astronomical imagery has been widely used to promote distinctly non-astronomical products and services. One of the earliest and most famous examples is the 1893 Chicago newspaper advertisement for Kirk’s Soap, which was inspired by the opening of the Yerkes Observatory. A survey of popular magazines published in America during the first half of the twentieth century suggests that these advertisements fall into four categories:
1) Astronomy is universally regarded as an exact and precise science. Manufacturers of mechanical devices may employ images of telescopes or astronomers at work to suggest that their products meet these same standards of quality. This was primarily the case with makers of automobiles and automotive products, although the Longines Watch Company ran an extensive series of ads featuring observatories.
2) The heavens induce a sense of wonder in most people, and advertisers may locate their products in an a celestial setting to give them an otherworldly flavor.
3) Astronomical observatories themselves are viewed as exotic settings, and have provided backgrounds for automotive and travel ads. They may also appear in advertisements for products used in their construction.
4) Finally, newsworthy astronomical events will inspire advertisers to associate their products with that event, in order to capitalize upon the publicity. This was particularly true in the case of the 1910 passage of Halley’s Comet and the 1948 opening of the 200-inch Hale telescope at Mt. Palomar.
Examples of magazine advertisements from each category are presented for comparison. This work was supported by a faculty development grant from Valdosta State University.

4. Ransom, Religion, and Red Giants: C.S. Lewis and Fred Hoyle
Kristine Larsen, Central Connecticut State University.
Famed fantasy writer C.S. Lewis (1898-1963) was known to friends as a well-read astronomy aficionado. However, this medieval scholar and Christian apologist embraced a pre-Copernican universe (with its astrological overtones) in his Chronicles of Narnia series and defended the beauty and relevance of the geocentric model in his final academic work, "The Discarded Image". In the "Ransom Trilogy" ("Out of the Silent Planet", "Perelandra", and "That Hideous Strength") philologist Ransom (loosely based on Lewis's close friend J.R.R. Tolkien) travels to Lewis's visions of Mars and Venus, where he interacts with intelligent extraterrestrials, battles with evil scientists, and aids in the continuation of extraterrestrial Christian values. In the final book, Ransom is joined by a handful of colleagues in open warfare against the satanic N.I.C.E. (National Institute for Coordinated Experiments). Geneticist and evolutionary biologist J.B.S. Haldane criticized Lewis for his scientifically inaccurate descriptions of the planets, and his disdain for the scientific establishment. Lewis responded to the criticism in essays of his own. Another of Lewis’s favorite scientific targets was atheist Fred Hoyle, whom he openly criticized for anti-Christian statements in Hoyle’s BBC radio series. Writer and Lewis friend Dorothy L. Sayers voiced her own criticism of Hoyle. In a letter, Lewis dismissed Hoyle as “not a great philosopher (and none of my scientific colleagues think much of him as a scientist.” Given Lewis’s lack of respect for Hoyle, and use of creative license in describing the planets, and the flat-earth, “geocentric” Narnia, it is surprising that Lewis very carefully includes an astronomically correct description of red giants in two novels in the Narnia series (“The Magician’s Nephew” and “The Last Battle”). This inclusion is even more curious given that Fred Hoyle is well-known as one of the pioneers in the field of stellar death and the properties of red giants.

HAD III History of Astronomy

Session #304: Monday, 4 Jan 2010, 10:00–11:30 p.m.
Session Chair: Thomas A. Hockey, Univ. of Northern Iowa.

10:00 1. Searching for John Goodricke
Linda M. French, Illinois Wesleyan Univ.
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. Goodricke’s career was short, as was his time on Earth: he died before his 22nd birthday. He left few personal notes or letters, and even many basic circumstances of his life have been misunderstood or misinterpreted. I will discuss Goodricke’s apparent change of mind regarding the variations of Algol. I will further describe recent research into his family circumstances and into the allegation advanced by Zdenek Kopal in the 1980s that Goodricke was buried apart from his family because they were ashamed of his deafness.

10:15 2. Planetary Observations (other than Uranus) by William Herschel
Woodruff T. Sullivan, III, Univ. of Washington.
William Herschel (1738-1822) is famous for his giant reflectors, his observations of nebulae, his “construction of the heavens” (Milky Way structure), and the discovery of Uranus. But in fact he was also a constant observer of the planets and ~40% of his publications are concerned with every known object in the solar system; yet historians have paid little attention to this aspect of his career. In this paper I will consider examples of his observational techniques and interpretations when observing solar system objects, including the moon and the sun. Regarding the sun, Herschel (1795) even said that it “appears to be nothing else than a very eminent, large, and lucid planet,” and he was convinced that it, like all the other planets, was inhabited by intelligent creatures. Finally, I will argue for significant connections between Herschel’s planetary work and his more familiar work on the sidereal universe.

10:30 3. The Origin and Diffusion of the H and K Notation
Jay M. Pasachoff, Williams College & T.A. Suer, Stony Brook Univ.
Though many or most astronomers and astronomy students may think that H and K, as in the Ca II “H and K lines,” were named by Fraunhofer, actually only the H line was in Fraunhofer’s original notation. He also used “I” to indicate the end of the spectrum in his widely reproduced 1814 drawing, published in 1817. We have searched references from 19th-century books and journals to find the first use of “K” to indicate the ionized-calcium spectral line at 383.3 nm and located the probable first use and eventually the reuse of the notation.

10:45 4. Edward Singleton Holden (1846-1914): His career at the U. S. Naval Observatory from 1873 to 1881
Brenda G. Corbin, U.S. Naval Observatory (Retired).
Edward Singleton Holden (1846-1914) held many positions during his career, including: astronomer at the U. S. Naval Observatory, Director of Washburn Observatory, President of the University of California, Director of Lick Observatory, and finally, Librarian at West Point. This presentation covers his tenure at the Naval Observatory. Educated at Washington University under Chauvenet, he went on to further study at West Point, graduating 3rd in his class in 1870. He resigned his commission in the Army in 1873 to become an astronomer at the Naval Observatory. He first assisted William Harkness on the transit circle and then Simon Newcomb took an interest in him and became an early mentor. When the 26-inch Clark refractor was completed in 1873, Holden was assigned to assist Newcomb. In 1875 Asaph Hall took over the 26-inch and Holden continued in this position. One of Holden's major accomplishments at the Observatory was the publication of the Monograph of the central parts of the nebula of Orion in 1882. He meticulously gathered all images of the central part of the nebula known at that time, beginning with a drawing by Huygens in 1656. These images, which were later used in the published volume, are mounted in a manuscript book held in the Observatory Library. Holden thought the relative brightness of certain parts of the nebula changed over time and tried to verify this theory. However, in 1882, his friend Henry Draper took a photographic image of the nebula with an exposure of 137 minutes which Holden readily accepted and included in the monograph. He immediately realized that photography was the tool of the future and would give a reliable, permanent record that later did indeed prove his theory was incorrect. Holden’s work in the libraries of the Naval Observatory and West Point will also be discussed.

11:00 5. Open Questions Regarding the 1925 Measurement of the Gravitational Redshift of Sirius B
Jay B. Holberg Univ. of Arizona.
In January 1924 Arthur Eddington wrote to Walter S. Adams at the Mt. Wilson Observatory suggesting a measurement of the “Einstein shift” in Sirius B and providing an estimate of its magnitude. Adams’ 1925 published results agreed remarkably well with Eddington’s estimate. Initially this achievement was hailed as the third empirical test of General Relativity (after Mercury’s anomalous perihelion advance and the 1919 measurement of the deflection of starlight). It has been known for some time that both Eddington’s estimate and Adams’ measurement underestimated the true Sirius B gravitational redshift by a factor of four. This talk will focus on four unresolved issues concerning this famous episode in the history of astrophysics.

11:15 6. The Suggestive Power of the Dark Sky Riddle
James Overduin, Towson Univ.
Attempts to account for the darkness of the night sky have historically stimulated some of the most important developments in astronomy and physics, including the recognition of extinction in the interstellar (and intergalactic) medium, the debate over “island universes”, the possibility of hierarchical matter distribution, spatial curvature and cosmic expansion. As resolutions of “Olbers’ paradox” nearly every one of a dozen or more such ideas proved inadequate. But their eventual prominence in other areas of astronomy serves as a prime illustration of the adage that truly fundamental science justifies itself.

11:30 End of session.

HAD IV History of Astronomy

Session #316: Monday, 4 Jan 2010, 2:00–3:30 p.m.

Session Chair: Kevin Krisciunas, Texas A&M Univ.

2:00 1. Who is Chester Cook? The story behind the plaques on the 16-inch f/18 Cassegrain Cook Memorial Telescope.
Anna Sudaric Hillier, Independent Scholar.
How did the public telescope on the mall become dedicated to Chester Sheldon Cook? He was a multifaceted individual with qualities to be a musician and optician. His musical abilities went hand in hand with his optical work at Harvard College Observatory. His interactions with Donald Menzel and James G. Baker are explored in this oral presentation.

2:15 2. The Baker-Nunn Camera
Peter Abrahams, Historical Astronomy Division, AAS.
The Baker-Nunn satellite tracking camera, deployed in 1957, was comprised of a very complex optical system, on an innovative form of mounting. James G. Baker designed the optics, which were fabricated by Perkin-Elmer. Joseph Nunn designed the mechanical system, which was constructed by Boller & Chivens. This highly convoluted fabrication sequence resulted in many difficulties and delays. By enabling precision observations of satellite orbits, the Baker-Nunn camera made possible significant advances in satellite programs. The camera was also useful in advancing geodetic knowledge: in research and discovery of the Van Allen radiation belt, the density of the atmosphere at various elevations, and solar radiation. Photographs from the Boller & Chivens factory will illustrate this overview.

2:30 3. An Epilogue to the Pre-discoveries of the Cosmic Microwave Background
Paul A. Feldman, Herzberg Inst. of Astrophysics, NRC Canada, Canada.
It is widely believed that Andrew McKellar’s 1941 measurement of 2.3 K as the temperature of interstellar space was unknown to George Gamow and his colleagues Ralph Alpher and Robert Herman. As well, Alpher and Herman's 1948-49 estimate of 5 K for the temperature of the Universe at the current epoch was thought to be unknown to McKellar and other astronomer-spectroscopists (see J. Bernstein’s 1993 book, pp 64-81).
Several months prior to his death in 2008, Graham Odgers, whom I consider to be the Canadian father of the CFHT, was interviewed by me and E. Harvey Richardson. Odgers was present when Gamow visited the D.A.O. (Victoria, BC) in the summer of 1951 with colleagues from George Washington University. Gamow presented a seminar that day entitled “The Origin of the Atoms” and otherwise spent the day walking around the Observatory property with McKellar. According to Odgers, Gamow insisted that his colleagues allow him and McKellar to talk alone. Most likely, the main topic was what was previously thought they never did: read and discuss each other’s papers. Curiously, McKellar had 9 years before he died in 1960 to collaborate with Gamow. Gamow had 17 years before he died in 1968 to collaborate with McKellar and/or to write a paper himself. Apparently, neither happened.

2:45 4. The VELA Success Story and Lessons Learned
Mario R. Perez, NASA Headquarters & R.D. Belian, Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The VELA program was one of the first successful space programs in the U.S. This project was managed for the Department of Defense by the predecessor of DARPA, with the participation of the U.S. Air Force. Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Sandia National Laboratory (SNL) were in charge of providing nuclear surveillance sensors to verify compliance with the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty signed by President John F. Kennedy on October 7, 1963. The first two satellites were launched in tandem ten days later on October 17, 1963. A total of twelve satellites were launched from 1963 until 1970. Successful operations of some VELA on-board detectors continued until the early 1980s. We reviewed some of the many unique and valuable science achievements such as the discovery of gamma-ray bursts, galactic x-ray bursts, x-ray emission of solar flares, the plasma sheet and high Z ions in the solar wind, etc. Furthermore, a few lessons learned, both technical and managerial, are captured in this presentation.

3:00 5. How Long Does It Take to Get a Paper Accepted for Publication by the ApJ?
Helmut A. Abt, Kitt Peak National Obs.
Publication after acceptance in the ApJ is now very fast. The first papers are published in the on-line editions of Part 1 in 23 days after acceptance and 19 days for the Letters. But what about the average interval between submission and acceptance? Such data cannot be found from the papers, but is available only in the editors’ logs. I visited the Editor’s ApJ office in Hamilton, Ontario and collected data for 251 papers. It turns out that 6% of the papers are rejected, 5% are withdrawn, and 88% are eventually accepted for publication. The average reviewing time is 44 days, average revision time is 53 days, and editorial time is 12 days. Other pertinent data are given.

3:15 6. Will the Last Astronomer at the Eyepiece Please Turn the Dome Lights On?
Thomas A. Hockey, Univ. of Northern Iowa.
Who was the last spectroscopist to not use a spectrograph? Who was the last photometrist without a detector? Who is the last astrometrist with nothing but optics and a wire between him and his stars? Who was the last astronomer to observe visually at the eye piece? It has been pointed out* that this question is impossible to answer. Even if we limit the query to professional astronomers, such observers may glance through the eye piece to ascertain that their telescope and detector are set up properly, for educational purposes (in preparation to show others the view), for amusement, or to relieve boredom! However, if we restrict the question by purpose—the observation was made in order to obtain research results—there is some hope of a more definitive answer. Historians prefer a redacted record, so let us further confine the question to involve observations resulting in peer-reviewed publications. Implied here is that the observations were successful. The observer was still a contributing part of his or her research community. Data mining does not count. I am interested in intent. Unexpected transient phenomena, such as novae (super- or otherwise), eclipses, or the changing appearance of planets and comets might be observed visually, owing to logistical and practical limitations imposed at the moment. Discoveries, such as those of comet Hale-Bopp or SN1987, are particularly good examples. But these instances tell us little about the astronomer or the normal science of his or her time. No. I want to know: For whom was visual observing the preferred method? If there are those who ride the crest of new technology (detectors), must there not also be those in the trough of the old?
*Fienberg, R. T. “Hilltop Holdouts.” Sky & Telescope, 113, #1, p. 126.

3:30 End of session.

Invited Plenary Session: Doggett Prize Lecture

Session #104: Monday, 4 Jan 2010, 4:30–5:20 p.m.
Session Chair: Sara Schechner, Harvard Univ.

Seventeen Key Developments in the History of the Extraterrestrial Life Debate
Michael J. Crowe, University of Notre Dame.
The extraterrestrial life debate, rather than beginning in the twentieth century, was already underway in classical antiquity and has continued almost without interruption until the present. This historical presentation, based on the presenter’s many years of historical research including visits to over forty research libraries, will survey seventeen of the most significant, exciting, and/or controversial turning points in this debate, involving those associated with such figures as Aristotle, Epicurus, Cusa, Copernicus, Bruno, Kepler, Fontenelle, Huygens, Herschel, Paine, Locke, Whewell, Proctor, Schiaparelli, Lowell, Maunder, Antoniadi, Wallace, Hubble, Brock, and the discoverers of the exoplanets. The discussion will include both astronomical and cultural issues and challenge various historical interpretations that appear in the literature. It will also provide some suggestions concerning the role that non-scientific issues, including metaphysical and religious issues, have at times played in the debate. Among the theses proposed in this talk are: (1) this debate has centered on one of the great questions humanity faces, (2) some of the effects that are predicted to follow if astronomers detect extraterrestrial intelligent beings have already occurred, and (3) not only has astronomy affected the debate, but the debate has had significant impacts on astronomy.

HAD V Archaeoastronomy

Session #331: Tuesday, 5 Jan 2010, 10:00–11:30 a.m.
Session Chair: James Lattis, Univ. of Wisconsin.

10:00 1. Astronomical Orientation of Pyramid Tombs in North China
Vance Russell Tiede, A.S.C.
Two ancient Chinese texts, the Chou Bei Suan Ching and Chou Li (Western Han Dynasty, ca. 100 BC) record that the Imperial Astronomer (Feng Hsian Shin) made solar observations to determine the solstices and equinoxes, and for determining the cardinal directions with a circle and gnomon. By combining the techniques of astro-archaeology (G. S. Hawkins, 1968) with both overhead imagery and ground survey, the present study seeks to link historical Chinese descriptions of astronomical phenomena with contemporary architectural orientation. In the process, several unexpected astronomical orientation patterns emerged which apparently do not appear in the surviving historical record. For example, at the imperial Western Han capital of Ch’ang-an (N 34 latitude), the diagonals of cardinally oriented square pyramid mounds (ling) align to zenith (+34 declination) and nadir (-34 declination) star rise and set points on the skyline. This is in accord with the Chou (Zhou) Dynasty’s name of Chung-Kuo meaning Central Country or Middle Kingdom. That is, the imperial capital is centered both politico-geographically with respect to its vassal states of the Eastern Yi, Southern Man, Western Rong, and Northern Di, as well as astro-geomantically regarding the color-coded Five Sacred Directions East-South-West-North-Zenith/Nadir in the Cosmos. Our ground survey also confirmed pyramid orientation to the lunar standstills (±28°,±18° and ±5° declination) that we reported from overhead imagery in 1980 (155th AAS Meeting, HAD 18.CE.12, Lunar and Solar Alignments of Ancient Chinese Pyramids). Grateful acknowledgment is given to the Chinese Academy of Sciences for the invitation to conduct an astro-archaeological survey of the Wei-ho valley, Shensi (Shaanxi) Province.

10:15 2. Determining the Eccentricity of the Moon's Orbit without a Telescope
Kevin Krisciunas, Texas A&M Univ.
Ancient Greek astronomers knew that the Moon’s distance from the Earth was not constant. Ptolemy’s model of the Moon’s motion implied that the Moon ranged in distance from 33 to 64 Earth radii. This implied that its angular size ranged nearly a factor of two. Tycho Brahe's model of the Moon’s motion implied a smaller distance range, some ±3 percent at syzygy. However, the ancient and Renaissance astronomers are notably silent on the subject of measuring the angular size of the Moon as a check on the implied range of distance from their models of the position of the Moon. Using a quarter-inch hole in a piece of cardboard that slides along a yardstick, we show that pre-telescopic astronomers could have measured an accurate mean value of the angular size of the Moon, and that they could have determined a reasonably accurate value of the eccentricity of the Moon's orbit. The principal calibration for each observer is to measure the apparent angular diameter of a 91 mm disk viewed at a distance of 10 meters, giving a true angular size of 31.3 arcmin (the Moon's mean angular size). Because the sighting hole is not much bigger than the size of one's pupil, each observer obtains a personal correction factor with which to scale the raw measures. If one takes data over the course of 7 lunations (7.5 anomalistic months), any systematic errors which are a function of phase should even out over the course of the observations. We find that the random error of an individual observation of ±0.8 arcmin can be achieved.

10:30 3. Criteria for the Attribution of Intent to Archaeoastronomical Alignments: An Example in Chaco Canyon, NM
Carol Ambruster, Villanova Univ., T. Hull, Tinsley L-3 Communications, & E.R. Jewell, Villanova Univ.
In archaeoastronomy, alignments of the Sun, Moon, and other astronomical objects are observed relative to archaeological fiducials. In addition to the alignment itself, further corroborating evidence is required in order to ascribe cultural meaning to the civilization being studied. We illustrate the family of tests that are readily available to researchers and reviewers of archaeoastronomy in the context of an evocative observation in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.

10:45 End of session.