Sky and Ocean Joined: The U. S. Naval Observatory, 1830-2000

Sky and Ocean Joined: The U. S. Naval Observatory, 1830-2000

by Steven J. Dick
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0521037506

ISBN-13: 9780521037501

Pub. Date: 07/12/2007

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Dick, an astronomer and historian of science at the U.S. Naval Observatory since 1979, shows how a single American institution weathered the vagaries of history to contribute to nearly two centuries of unparalleled progress in astronomy. Keeping a wide angle on the observatory's contributions to various scientific fields, Dick tracks the six generations of scientists

Overview

Dick, an astronomer and historian of science at the U.S. Naval Observatory since 1979, shows how a single American institution weathered the vagaries of history to contribute to nearly two centuries of unparalleled progress in astronomy. Keeping a wide angle on the observatory's contributions to various scientific fields, Dick tracks the six generations of scientists who led the observatory's lifelong pursuits: finding and keeping accurate time for the nation; defining our stellar frame of reference; accurately observing and predicting the gravitational motions of planets and satellites; and the relation of all of these aspects to navigation. Annotation (c)2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521037501
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
07/12/2007
Pages:
624
Sales rank:
1,236,147
Product dimensions:
6.85(w) x 9.72(h) x 1.26(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsviii
Abbreviationsxi
Introduction1
Prelude: Perspectives and problems: The nation, the Navy, the stars5
1.History of astronomy5
2.History of science in America12
3.Navigation and the U.S. Navy15
Part IThe founding era, 1830-65
Chapter 1From Depot to National Observatory, 1830-4627
1.1Origins: Goldsborough and the G Street Depot28
1.2Struggle: Wilkes and the Capitol Hill Observatory38
1.3Success: Gilliss and a permanent observatory44
Chapter 2A choice of roles: the Maury years, 1844-6160
2.1The setting: Site, building, and instruments62
2.2Settling in: Maury and his staff in the formative years, 1844-4970
2.3Astronomy versus hydrography: Science, politics, and the Navy in the last decade of the Maury era98
Chapter 3Foundations of the American Nautical Almanac Office, 1849-65118
3.1Motives for an American nautical almanac119
3.2C. H. Davis: Organizing the almanac and the Almanac Office124
3.3Opposition and success132
Chapter 4Gilliss and the Civil-War years140
4.1Trials and triumphs141
4.2End of an era158
Part IIThe golden era, 1866-93
Chapter 5Scientific life and work163
5.1Administrative concerns164
5.2Charting the heavens173
5.3Time balls and telegraphs: Time for the nation181
5.4Solar-eclipse expeditions196
Chapter 6Asaph Hall, the Great Refractor, and the moons of Mars206
6.1The Great Refractor206
6.2Asaph Hall and the moons of Mars218
6.3Aftermath: Hall and the 26-inch refractor after the discovery232
Chapter 7William Harkness and the transits of Venus of 1874 and 1882238
7.1Motives and preparations: The U. S. Commission on the Transit of Venus239
7.2The 1874 expeditions and their results: Newcomb's frustration255
7.3The 1882 expeditions and their results: The work of William Harkness263
Chapter 8Simon Newcomb and his work274
8.1Nautical Almanac computer and Naval Observatory astronomer275
8.2Superintendent of the Nautical Almanac Office, 1877-97281
8.3Newcomb's legacy289
Part IIIThe twentieth century
Chapter 9Observatory Circle: A new site and administrative challenges for the twentieth century295
9.1A new site: Origins and development of Observatory Circle296
9.2The battle for civilian control318
9.3War, depression, and modernization337
9.4Post-war and Space-Age administrative developments347
Chapter 10Space: The astronomy of position and its uses358
10.1The old astronomy meets the new, 1893-1927359
10.2Attempts at modernization and origins of the Flagstaff Station, 1927-57392
10.3Positional astronomy in the Space Age414
Chapter 11Time: A service for the world451
11.1Universal Time: Harnessing the Earth clock to 1950453
11.2A variety of times: Turning point at mid-century477
11.3Time service in the Space Age487
Chapter 12Navigation: From stars to satellites504
12.1Chronometers and nautical instruments505
12.2The Nautical Almanac Office, 1893-1958507
12.3From stars to satellites: Into the Space Age530
Summary549
Select bibliographical essay561
Appendix 1Sources567
Appendix 2Superintendents, Scientific Directors, and Department Directors of the U. S. Naval Observatory572
Appendix 3Selected astronomical instrumentation and standard clocks at the U. S. Naval Observatory, 1844-2000580
Appendix 4U. S. Naval Observatory: Six generations of selected personnel582
Appendix 5Key legislation related to the Naval Observatory and Nautical Almanac Office584
Index586

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