You are here

January 2016 HAD Meeting: Kissimmee

All sessions and meetings in the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center

HAD I Session: A Celebration of the Centenary of Einstein's General Relativity

Session #90: Monday, 2016 January 4, 1:30–4:00 p.m (Osceola 4 meeting room)
Session Chair: Virginia Trimble (University of California at Irvine)

90.01     Was Einstein Right? A Centennial Assessment
1:30    Clifford M. Will (University of Florida)
Einstein formulated general relativity 100 years ago. Although it is generally considered a great triumph, the theory's early years were characterized by conceptual confusion, empirical uncertainties and a lack of relevance to ordinary physics. But in recent decades, a remarkably diverse set of precision experiments has established it as the "standard model" for gravitational physics. Yet it might not be the final word. We review a century of measurements that have verified general relativity, and describe some of the opportunities and challenges involved in testing Einstein’s great theory in strong-field regimes and in gravitational waves.

90.02    News From the Front (of the Solar System): The Problem with Mercury, the Vulcan Hypothesis, and General Relativity’s First Astronomical Triumph
2:00     William Sheehan (Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services, Willmar, MN)
The discovery of the outer planet Neptune in 1846, based on the calculated position published by Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier, has been hailed as the “zenith of Newtonian mechanics.” An attempt by Le Verrier to further extend the dominion of Newton’s gravitational theory to the innermost known planet of the Solar System, Mercury, seemingly came to grief with the discovery of a small unexplained discrepancy in the precession of the perihelion of Mercury, whose value was later calculated as 43”.0 per century. Le Verrier proposed that it could be explained on the basis of Newtonian theory by assuming the existence of an intra-mercurial planet (“Vulcan”) or ring of debris. Efforts to confirm this hypothesis, culminating in high drama on the plains of the western United States at the great North American solar eclipse of July 1878, proved futile; by 1908, W. W. Campbell and C.D. Perrine of Lick Observatory, who had carried out exhaustive photographic searches at three eclipses (1901, 1905, and 1908) could declare that Vulcan did not exist. The theoretical problem it was invoked to explain remained until November 1915, when Albert Einstein used the recently discovered generally covariant gravitational equations to put the problem to rest. “Perihelion motions explained quantitatively … you will be astonished,” he wrote to his friend Michael Besso.

90.03    Cosmology in Mr. Tompkins' Lifetime
2:30     Rudi P. Lindner (University of Michigan)
Mr. Tompkins, the hero of George Gamow's most famous book, was born in the first decade of the twentieth century and lived until its end. A bank clerk by day, Mr. Tompkins had wide-ranging interests, and his curiosity led him to popular scientific presentations, and these in turn brought him a long and happy marriage to Maud, the daughter of a professor of physics. His lifetime offers an appropriate framework for a meditation on the history of cosmology during the century in which cosmology became a scientific enterprise. As it happens, Mr. Tompkins' first exposure to cosmology, in which he observed both the expansion and contraction of an oscillating universe in 1939, happened during the long night of relativity, the generation in which relativity specialists became few and, like the galaxies, far between. This talk will consider the heyday of early relativistic cosmology from 1917 to 1935, the causes and consequences of the "long night" from 1935 until 1963, and the renaissance of cosmology, which, occurring as it did upon the retirement of Mr. Tompkins, afforded him great pleasure in his later years.

90.04    General Relativity During the Great War
3:00     Virginia L. Trimble (University of California at Irvine)
Einstein’s (and Hilbert’s) equations saw light of day in the darkness of Berlin 1915, as is well known. Moving from this highlight to less conspicuous topics, we find Karl Schwarzschild’s solution of those equations (1916) followed shortly by his death. On the observational and American front, Slipher’s assemblage of galaxy radial velocities, begun in 1912 with M31, continued apace. Shapley was busily moving us out of the galactic center. Also at Mt. Wilson, Charles St. John looked for gravitational redshift in the solar spectrum in 1917 without firmly detecting it. Adams demonstrated the very low luminosities of Sirius B and 40 Eri B in 1914 (but his attempt at a redshift for the former came only in 1923). Perhaps least well known is that a handful of additional critical theoretical papers date from the war years and describe the Lense-Thirring effect, the Reissner-Nordstrom solution, and a charged solution with a cosmological constant (due to the even more obscure Friedrich Kottler). Some of these came out of neutral Holland, but Kottler served both at Ypres and on the Galician front. Interesting mixes of military service and relativistic contributions are also associated with the names of Friedmann, Le Lemaître, Weyl (of the tensor), Minkowski, Hubble, Flamm, Droste, and Kretschmann. Astronomers in neutral Denmark, Holland and (until 1917) the USA facilitated transmittal of astronomical observations and other news across the battle lines so that Schwarzschild received an obituary in Nature and Moseley one in Naturwissenschaften.

90.05    General Relativity Today
3:30     Roger D. Blandford (KIPAC, Stanford University)
A hundred years after its birth, general relativity has become a highly successful theory in the sense that it has passed many experimental and observational tests and finds widespread application to diverse set of cosmic phenomena. It remains an accurate research field as more tests are deployed, epitomized by the exciting prospect of detecting gravitational radiation directly. General relativity is the essential foundation of modern cosmology and underlies our detailed description of the black holes and neutron stars that are ultimately responsible for the most powerful and dramatic cosmic sources. The interface with physics on both the largest and the smallest scales continues to be very fertile. In this talk I will attempt to highlight some key steps along the way to general relativity today.

HAD II Session: History of Astronomy– 19th and 20th Centuries

Session #114: Tuesday, 2016 January 5, 10:00 - 11:30 am (Osceola 4 meeting room)
Session Chair: Jay Pasachoff (Williams College)

114.01    The Order of the Dolphin: Origins of SETI
10:00     Maria Temming and Anthony Crider (Elon University)
In 1961, the National Academy of Sciences organized a meeting on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia. The ten scientists who attended, including future SETI icons such as Frank Drake and Carl Sagan, represented a variety of scientific fields. At the conclusion of the meeting, the attendees adopted the moniker “The Order of the Dolphin,” in honor of participant John Lilly’s work on interspecies communication. Since this seminal meeting, researchers in each of the attendees’ fields have contributed in some way to the search for intelligent life. This study investigates the circumstances that led to each attendee’s invitation to Green Bank and explores SETI as the legacy of this meeting. We will focus in this talk on the SETI connections of two attendees, astronomer Otto Struve and physicist Philip Morrison, both in regards to their personal contributions to SETI and the influence of their work on subsequent SETI research. Specifically, we will examine proposals by Otto Struve for exoplanet discovery methods, and Philip Morrison for radio searches that laid the groundwork for modern SETI.

114.02    The Golden Years of Radio Astronomy
10:10     Kenneth I. Kellerman (NRAO)
The 1960s were the Golden Years of Radio Astronomy. During this decade a new generation of young scientists discovered quasars, pulsars, the cosmic microwave background, cosmic masers, giant molecular clouds, radio source variability, superluminal motion, radio recombination lines, the rotation of Mercury and Venus, the Venus Greenhouse effect, Jupiter’s radiation belts, and opened up the high redshift Universe. On the technical side, the 1960s saw the completion of the NRAO 140-ft and 300-ft radio telescopes, the Haystack, Arecibo and Parkes antennas, the Owens Valley Interferometer, the first practical demonstrations of aperture synthesis, VLBI, and CLEAN, the Cambridge 1-mile radio telescope, the most precise tests of GR light bending, and the introduction of the 4th test of GR. Following sessions at the recent IAU 29th General Assembly on the “Golden Years of Radio Astronomy,” we will discuss the circumstances surrounding these transformational discoveries which changed the course of modern astronomy.

114.03    Max Wolf’s Discovery of Near-Earth Asteroid 887 Alinda
10:20     Martin Connors (Athabasca University), Holger Mandel (Landesternwarte Heidelberg), and Markus Demleitner (University of Heidelberg)
Max Wolf, director of the Heidelberg Observatory (Landessternwarte Königsstuhl), was the most prodigious discoverer of asteroids in the early twentieth century. He is now best known for the discovery of the Trojan asteroids associated with Jupiter in 1906, but was a pioneer in the application of photographic techniques to astronomy, particularly for conducting asteroid surveys. His attention to detail and perseverance also led to the discovery of the near-Earth asteroid 887 Alinda, which is the eponym of an orbital class in 3:1 resonance with Jupiter. Alinda class contains several potentially hazardous asteroids, and has been particularly instructive in development of theories of eccentricity increase for resonant asteroids. Alinda was discovered on January 3, 1918, on the very edge of one of two plates taken with the 40 cm aperture Bruce double astrograph. The inability to reduce a long trail going off the plate meant that only one month later could the object again be found with the Bruce telescope, and later observed with the follow-up instrument, the 72 cm aperture Waltz reflector. In what Wolf referred to as “the greatest embarrassment of my life”, reflector observations had him conclude that Alinda had a satellite. At a time when plates had to be exposed for several hours, laboriously developed and analyzed, and in the case of high eccentricity objects like Alinda, predicted with inadequate theories, Wolf’s persistence allowed it never to be lost. Despite this, its essential resonant nature was not determined until 1969, despite the pioneering work by Brown (1911) on resonance in the asteroid belt and the knowledge dating to the late nineteenth century work of Kirkwood that commensurabilities were important in its structure. The majority of Wolf’s plates are available as online scans through the Heidelberg Digitized Astronomical Plates project of the German Astrophysical Virtual Observatory, but the Alinda discovery plate, which was broken, was scanned specially.

114.04    Lowell Observatory's 24-inch Clark Refractor: Its History and Renovation
10:30     Kevin Schindler; Ralph Nye; Peter Rosenthal (Lowell Observatory)
In 1895, Percival Lowell hired eminent telescope maker Alvan G. Clark to build a 24-inch refractor. Lowell intended the telescope initially for observing Mars in support of his controversial theories about life on that planet. Clark finished the telescope within a year and at a cost of $20,000. Lowell and his staff of assistants and astronomers began observing through it on July 23, 1896, setting off a long and productive career for the telescope
While Lowell’s Mars studies dominated early work with the Clark, V.M. Slipher by the 1910s was using it to observe planetary rotations and atmospheric compositions. He soon revolutionized spectroscopic studies, gathering excruciatingly long spectra – some in excess of 40 hours – of the so-called white nebula and determining startling radial velocities, evidence of an expanding universe. In the 1960s, scientists and artists teamed up on the Clark and created detailed lunar maps in support of the Apollo program.
In recent decades, the Clark has played a central role in the education programs at Lowell, with general public audiences, students, and private groups all taking advantage of this unique resource.
With this nearly 120 years of constant use, the Clark had been wearing down in recent years. The telescope was becoming more difficult to move, old electrical wiring in the dome was a fire hazard, and many of the telescope's parts needed to be repaired or replaced.
In 2013, Lowell Observatory began a fundraising campaign, collecting $291,000 to cover the cost of dome and telescope renovation. Workers removed the entire telescope mount and tube assembly from the dome, examining every part from tube sections to individuals screws. They also stabilized the dome, adding a water vapor barrier and new outer wall while reinforcing the upper dome. The project lasted from January, 2014 through August, 2015. The facility reopened for daytime tours in September, 2015 and evening viewing the following month.

114.05    Who Really Discovered The First Asteroid, Ceres?
10:40     Clifford J. Cunningham (National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand)
Giuseppe Piazzi has been credited as the sole discoverer of the first asteroid, Ceres, ever since it was found on January 1, 1801. However, a mid-nineteenth century book about Cicero has been found to contain an interview that reveals the full story of the discovery, not the sanitized version presented by Piazzi in his two monographs about Ceres. In addition, research has uncovered the only interview ever given by Piazzi, which offers a unique insight into his views on English and French astronomy from the perspective of 1808.
This presentation was withdrawn.

114.06    Lost in the Dark: A proto-history of dark matter
10:50     Virginia L. Trimble (University of California at Irvine)
The Greeks were probably not the first to think of everything, but they were quite often the first to write about it. Thus the first dark matter candidate was the counter-earth of Philolaus (c. 460 BCE), with its illuminated face forever turned away from us. The eclipsing binary interpretation of Algol brought forward the idea (Pigott & Goodricke 1780s) of stars not yet lit up, while the incorporation of thermodynamics into the astronomical tool kit suggested dark, dead stars. Jeans reported a number for these about three times the number of illuminated stars in 1922, the same year that Kapteyn set a comparable limit to what he called dark matter. The phrase appears as an index item in Russell et al.’s 1927 Astronomy and cannot, therefore, have been invented any later. The first extragalactic investigation seems to have been that by Knut Lundmark, writing in German in the Meddelande of the Lund Observatory in 1930. One of the columns of his Tabelle 4 is headed: (Leuchtende + dunkle Materia)/(Leuchtende Materie) and lists values from six up to 100 for six galaxies, e.g. Messier 51 (10), Andromedanebel (20), and NGC 4594 (30). Binary galaxies came from Holmberg (1937), Virgo from Sinclair Smith (1936), and flat rotation curves from Babcock (1939, Andromeda) and Oort (1940, NGC 3115), the latter writing cautiously that the distribution of mass seemed to be very different from that of the light. Then there was a war, but by the time of a 1961 symposium in Santa Barbara focused on the large velocity dispersions in clusters of galaxies, the votes for dark matter slightly outnumbered those for unbound clusters and other alternatives. The idea of a constant of gravity increasing with distance came a smidge later from Arigo Finzi in 1963. The tipping point was arguably 1974 with a pair of short papers summarizing M/L ratios vs. distance scale (which could, of course, have been plotted before WWII). I mention only the slightly earlier and much less often cited one by Einasto, Kaasik, and Saar (published in Nature, in case you are thinking of more Meddelande). I feel enormous respect and affection for Vera Rubin and Fritz Zwicky, but the published papers as are they are.

114.07    Joseph Henry and Astronomy
11:00     Marc Rothenberg (Smithsonian Institution)
Joseph Henry (1797-1878) is best known for his work in electromagnetism and as the first secretary of the Smithsonian Institution. But he was also a pioneer solar physicist, an early advocate of US participation in astrophysics, and a facilitator of international cooperation in astronomy. This paper will briefly trace his role in the development of the US astronomical community from the time he taught astronomy at Princeton in the 1830s through his death, focusing on failed efforts to persuade US astronomers and patrons of astronomy that the best path for US astronomy should be astrophysics. He thought that the US could make a more significant contribution to astronomy science by striking out on a less travelled path rather than competing with the established European observatories.

HAD Business Meeting

Session #117: Tuesday, 2016 January 5, 12:45 - 1:45 pm (Osceola 4 meeting room)
Session Chair: Marc Rothenberg (Smithsonian Institution)

HAD III Session: History of Astronomy– History, Archeoastronomy, Philosophy, and Education

Session #130: Tuesday, 2016 January 5, 2:00 - 3:30 pm (Osceola 4 meeting room)
Session Chair: Terry Oswalt (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University)

130.01    Thirty Years After Eddy: The Big Horn Medicine Wheel
2:00     Ivy Merriot (Montana State University)
Interest in the astronomy of American medicine wheels flourished after John Eddy's 1974 paper on the solstice alignment at the Big Horn Medicine Wheel. In the 1980s, Jack Robinson modified Eddy's stellar alignments based on the visual altitude of heliacal stars. Three decades later, we revisited the Wheel to evaluate the alignments proposed by both men. Because stellar alignments in mountainous landscapes are difficult to rigorously assess from maps and math, our research was performed in situ at the Big Horn Medicine Wheel under bitter cold, clear dark nights from pre-sunset to post-dawn at the Wheel's altitude of 9642 feet. Research methods included naked eye skywatching, transit surveying, and horizon measurements taken with a Meade Cassegrain 8” electronic telescope. Evaluations of Eddy and Robinson's work confirmed Robinson's modifications to Eddy's stellar alignments and confirmed Eddy's solstice alignment. Beyond this initial re-evaluation, new research at the Big Horn Medicine Wheel gave evidence of the Wheel's ability to reveal and thus teach celestial mechanics, acting as a high altitude ancient stone astrolabe. The Wheel was found to “mirror” and measure the night sky with its “grid” design built of basement and laid surface stones. The Wheel's rim and cairns mirror pole stars over the equinoctial precessional cycle. The Wheel's twenty-eight sections create a star chart grid similar to the twenty-eight sectioned Stations of the Moon star charts widely used in ancient and historical times. The Wheel's stone star grid set under dark clear stars with easy summertime access alongside an ancient well-used travois trail facilitates its utility as a practicum for learning celestial mechanics at 45 degrees latitude in the Northern Hemisphere.
This presentation was withdrawn.

130.02    Kilohoku Ho`okele Wa`a — Na `Ohana Hoku `Eha (The Astronomy of the Hawaiian Navigators — The Four Star Families)
2:10     Stephanie Slater (CAPER), Timothy F. Slater (University of Wyoming and CAPER), and Kalepa C. Baybayan (University of Hawaii and Polynesian Voyaging Society)
This paper documents the complete modern Hawaiian navigational full-sky. Over eight years of field notes, observations, and interviews with cultural leaders, historians, and ho`okele wa`a (navigators) were used to construct and validate Kilohoku Ho`okele Wa`a, the Astronomy of the Hawaiian Navigators. In contrast to the various historical sky maps designed by different practitioners and local groups in pre-colonial times, this sky-map depicts the four whole-sky constellations used by present day wayfinders. Designed by a loosely bound group of cultural leaders and navigators as a tool to use in modern non-instrumental navigation, Kilohoku Ho`okele Wa`a is a pragmatic fusion of ancient Hawaiian tradition, traditions of greater Polynesia, and modern-day Indigenous cultural forces. Like a very small number of cultures who use the sky for non-instrumental navigation, the ho`okele wa`a conceive of each season’s visible sky as a whole image, using a single constellation that stretches from the northern to the southern horizon as a tool that facilitates direction finding in skies that are often very cloudy, and that chunks the sky into sections that decrease the cognitive load placed on the navigator. Moving through the seasons, beginning in Winter, Na `Ohana Hoku `Eha (The Four Star Families) are Kekaomakali`I (The Bailer), Kaiwikuamo`o (The Backbone), anaiakalani (The Fishhook), and Kalupekawelo (The Kite). The whole-sky character of each of the four “star families,” combines with that star family’s mo`olelo (purposeful story) to further facilitate navigation, employing the emotional component of moral and familial associations to enhance memorization and to provide wayfinders with encouragement on their long journeys.

130.03    Profiling Some of the Lesser-Known Historical Women Astronomers
2:20     Ashley Pagnotta (American Museum of Natural History)
Although some historical women astronomers such as Henrietta Swan Leavitt and Cecilia Payne Gaposchkin have recently become somewhat well known among the astronomical community, many others--especially those from non-western cultures--remain a mystery even to those of us who are actively aware of and interested in the role of early women in astronomy. As part of a project to educate myself on some of these women, I started a blog series ( to share this newfound knowledge with a population that is on average relatively young, extremely tech savvy, and generally would not consider themselves to be science-inclined. I will discuss some of the more interesting women I have profiled, as well as my observations on the efficacy of this method of history education.

130.04    Teaching the History of Astronomy On Site in London
2:30     Linda M. French (Illinois Wesleyan University)
In the autumn of 2014, the author had the opportunity to teach a class on the history of astronomy in England as part of a study abroad experience for students at Illinois Wesleyan University. The philosophy of the program is to use the rich cultural environment of London as a setting for active learning. In the classroom, students read and discussed selected works by Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and Herschel. We visited Stonehenge, the Royal Greenwich Observatory, the London Science Museum, the London Monument, and the library of the Royal Astronomical Society. Lessons learned from the experience will be shared.

130.05    The Astronomy Genealogy Project: A Progress Report
2:40     Joseph S. Tenn (Sonoma State University)
Although it is not yet visible, much progress has been made on the Astronomy Genealogy Project (AstroGen) since it was accepted as a project of the Historical Astronomy Division (HAD) three years ago. AstroGen will list the world’s astronomers with information about their highest degrees and advisors. (In academic genealogy, your thesis advisor is your parent.) A small group (the AstroGen Team) has compiled a database of approximately 12,000 individuals who have earned doctorates with theses (dissertations) on topics in astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, or planetary science. These include nearly all those submitted in Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, and most of those in the United States (all through 2014 for most universities and all through 1990 for all). We are compiling more information than is maintained by the Mathematics Genealogy Project (MGP). In addition to name, degree, university, year of degree, and thesis advisor(s), all provided by MGP as well, we are including years of birth and death when available, mentors in addition to advisors, and links to the thesis when it is online and to the person’s web page or obituary, when we can find it. We are still struggling with some questions, such as the boundaries of inclusion and whether or not to include subfields of astronomy. We believe that AstroGen will be a valuable resource for historians of science as well as a source of entertainment for those who like to look up their academic family trees. A dedicated researcher following links from AstroGen will be able to learn quite a lot about the careers of astronomy graduates of a particular university, country, or era. We are still seeking volunteers to enter the graduates of one or more universities.

130.06    Critical Issues in the Philosophy of Astronomy and Cosmology
2:50     Steven J. Dick (NASA)
Although the philosophy of science and of specific sciences such as physics, chemistry, and biology are well-developed fields with their own books and journals, the philosophy of astronomy and cosmology have received little systematic attention. At least six categories of problems may be identified in the astronomical context: 1) the nature of reasoning, including the roles of observation, theory, simulation, and analogy, as well as the limits of reasoning, starkly evident in the anthropic principle, fine-tuning, and multiverse controversies; 2) the often problematic nature of evidence and inference, especially since the objects of astronomical interest are for the most part beyond experiment and experience;3) the influence of metaphysical preconceptions and non-scientific worldviews on astronomy, evidenced, for example in the work of Arthur S. Eddington and many other astronomers; 4) the epistemological status of astronomy and its central concepts, including the process of discovery, the problems of classification, and the pitfalls of definition (as in planets); 5) the role of technology in shaping the discipline of astronomy and our view of the universe; and 6) the mutual interactions of astronomy and cosmology with society over time. Discussion of these issues should draw heavily on the history of astronomy as well as current research, and may reveal an evolution in approaches, techniques, and goals, perhaps with policy relevance. This endeavor should also utilize and synergize approaches and results from philosophy of science and of related sciences such as physics (e.g. discussions on the nature of space and time). Philosophers, historians and scientists should join this new endeavor. A Journal of the Philosophy of Astronomy and Cosmology (JPAC) could help focus attention on their studies.

130.07    General Relativity, Islamic Cosmology, At Odds or Not?
3:00     Ian Steer (NED, Toronto)
The cosmology of the Islamic Qur’an is interesting, both historically and currently. Our universe is described as a cyclical, repeating creation (Ch. #27, Vs. #64), existing within multiple layers or boundaries (Ch. #67, Vs. #3). In modern terms, Islamic cosmology is comparable to Lemaitre’s 1927 dynamic equilibrium theory (Lemaitre 1927a), only recently reintroduced (Steer 2013, 2014, 2015). Could the old idea of a cyclical universe, found in the Qur’an and suggested by Lemaître, yet prove revolutionary to today’s theory that expansion had only one beginning, proceeds in only one direction, and arose from only nothing?
This presentation was withdrawn.

HAD Doggett Prize


Session #132: Tuesday, 2016 January 5, 4:30 - 5:20 pm (Osceola Ballroom C)
Session Chair: Jay Pasachoff (Williams College)

132.01    New Information about Old Telescopes
4:30<     Albert Van Helden (Rice University and the University of Utrecht)
It has long been known that the earliest telescopes were primitive, suffering from a number of defects such as spherical and chromatic aberrations, grinding and polishing errors, and poor quality glass. In the last two decades, much new information has been uncovered by the cooperation between historians and scientists. As a result, we now have a much better, and more complete, history of early telescopes, from spectacle lenses and the invention of the instrument to the demise of long-focus non-achromatic refractors and their replacement by reflectors in the eighteenth century. We can begin to quantify the properties of these early instruments, and the results are often surprising.

HAD IV Session: History of Astronomy Poster Session

Session #134: Tuesday, 2016 January 5, 5:30 - 6:30 pm (Exhibit Hall A)

134.01    Stonehenge’s Greater Cursus
5:30     Paul Burley; Howard D. Mooers (University of Minnesota at Duluth)
Archaeological investigations have emphasized relationships between solar and lunar phenomena and architectural features of prehistoric sites located on the Stonehenge ritual landscape. However, no over-riding landscape design has been identified to explain the purpose of placing hundreds of Neolithic through Iron Age burial sites upon the landscape. Our research and analysis shows the mid-4th millennium BC (mid-Neolithic) landscape represents an ‘above, so below’ cosmo-geographical relationship. Type, shape, size and orientation of specific elements (such as long barrows, henges, cursus and topography) created a hierotopy representing the Winter Hexagon asterism, Milky Way, ecliptic and other stellar features. The resulting pattern of ritual sites represents translocation of the astronomical Otherworld – the Spirit World – onto the plain. Results of the analysis create a new paradigm of purpose for the built landscape circa 3500 BC, and identifies the reason why Stonehenge is located where it is with respect to other contemporary monuments.

134.02    Urania in the Marketplace: The Selling of Mt. Palomar
5:30     Kenneth S. Rumstay (Valdosta State University)
The 200-inch Hale telescope atop Mt. Palomar is one of the most iconic scientific facilities ever constructed. The world’s largest optical telescope for over a quarter-century, it served as a symbol of hope for America during the Great Depression and in the post-war years. In 2016 we celebrate the eightieth anniversaries of the completion of the mirror blank, the start of construction of the dome and mounting, and the beginning of astronomical research at Palomar Observatory by Fritz Zwicky (with the 18-inch Schmidt camera).
During its construction, and for many years after “first light” in 1949, the Hale telescope was prominently featured in numerous magazine advertisements. Most of these represented companies directly involved in its construction, notably Corning Glass Works, which was justly proud of its magnificent accomplishment. But companies only vaguely linked to the project, or not at all, also co-opted the mystique of “the World’s Largest Eye” to promote their goods or services. Surprisingly, in light of the fact that it bore responsibility for fabricating the complex and innovative mounting, the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company appears to have run only a single advertisement (in The National Geographic Magazine) touting its contribution to the project.
Examples of magazine advertisements spanning the period 1936 to 1959 are presented.

134.03    Preserving the History of Wesleyan University’s Van Vleck Observatory
5:30     Roy E. Kilgard; Paul Erickson; William Herbst; Seth Redfield; Amrys Williams (Wesleyan University)
Since its opening in 1916, the Van Vleck Observatory at Wesleyan University has been dedicated to the joint mission of astronomical education and research. In celebration of the Observatory’s centennial year, we are undertaking a number of projects to preserve and chronicle its history. The centerpiece of these efforts has been the renovation of the 20-inch Alvan Clark refracting telescope. Through careful compromise of historical restoration and modernization, we have ensured the future of one of the nation’s last large, long-focus refractors well into the 21st century. In addition, we are producing an historical exhibition in the Observatory and online that will open to the public in the spring of 2016. Our exhibition explores the place-based nature of astronomical research, the scientific instruments, labor, and individuals that have connected places around the world in networks of observation, and the broader history of how observational astronomy has linked local people, amateur observers, professional astronomers, and the tools and objects that have facilitated their work under Connecticut’s skies over the past 100 years. We are also collecting memories from the community to enrich our exhibition. If you have a story about the Van Vleck Observatory you would like to share with our researchers, please contact one of the authors.

Complete program of 2016 AAS/HAD/HEAD meeting