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ENHA-39

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*                                                                         *
*           ELECTRONIC NEWSLETTER FOR THE HISTORY OF ASTRONOMY            *
*                                                                         *
*      Published by the Working Group for the History of Astronomy        *
*                  in the Astronomische Gesellschaft                      *
*                                                                         *
*                    Number 39,  December 21, 1999                        *
*                                                                         *
*                     Edited by: Wolfgang R. Dick                         *
*                                                                         *
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Contents
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1. USNO installs newest Washington time ball

2. Klaus Staubermann: Proposal for Observations with a Zoellner Photometer

3. Guenther Oestmann: Exhibition: Clocks and Scientific Instruments of
                      the Hager Family

4. Symposium Announcement: Astronomy of Ancient Civilizations

5. Conferences 1999/2000

6. Peter D. Hingley: Dunkin Autobiography Published

7. New Books

Acknowledgements

Imprint


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*                  A Happy New Year 2000 to all readers!                  *
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Item 1                                           ENHA No. 39, Dec. 21, 1999
...........................................................................

USNO installs newest Washington time ball
-----------------------------------------

(From: "Elektronische Mitteilungen zur Astronomiegeschichte" Nr. 45,
3. Oktober 1999, Item 3.)


Residents of the Glover Park neighborhood of northwest Washington, DC may
notice a subtle change in their skyline beginning today. This morning the
U.S. Naval Observatory hoisted a time ball into place on the roof of its
main building. This time ball will be the official marker of the beginning
of the year 2000 and the beginning of the Third Millennium in 2001.

By order of then-Secretary of the Navy John Y. Mason, the Naval
Observatory dropped the first time ball in the United States in 1845. This
was the primary means for disseminating time to the city of Washington and
for ships on the Potomac to set their chronometers for navigation. The
ball was dropped every day at noon from the Observatory's Foggy Bottom site
until 1885, when it was moved to the State, War and Navy Building (now the
old Executive Office Building) next to the White House. It was last
dropped there in 1936.

The dropping of the time ball to usher in the year 2000, by order of the
current Secretary of the Navy the Honorable Mr. Richard Danzig, will
therefore commemorate an old tradition for Washington and the U.S. Navy.
It will, however, be dropped at midnight EST on New Year's Eve rather than
noon.

The event will be the local culmination of a "round-the-world time ball
drop", in which time balls will mark the beginning of the New Year as it
sweeps westward from the International Date Line across New Zealand,
Australia, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
In addition, USNO is coordinating the local observance of the New Year with
U.S. Navy installations and ships around the globe. The Observatory is
also a partner in the White House Millennium Program.

Time balls were used in many cities around the country and around the world
during the 19th century. Those in the U.S. were sometimes dropped by a
signal from Washington. Beginning in September, 1877 a time ball atop the
Western Union Building in New York City was dropped by telegraphic signal
from the Naval Observatory. In the era before time zones, the signal for
New York was issued 12 minutes before that for Washington to take into
account the longitude difference. At the turn of the 20th century dozens
of time balls were being dropped around the world. A few are still
ceremonially dropped, ranging from New Zealand to the Old Royal
Observatory, Greenwich.

The Naval Observatory began as the Depot of Charts and Instruments for the
Navy in 1830, maintaining and calibrating sextants and chronometers. From
1844 to 1893 it was located in Foggy Bottom, at the site of the current
Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED). Since 1893, the Naval
Observatory has been located at 34th and Massachusetts Avenue, about 2
miles from the Foggy Bottom site and the center of Washington, D.C.

Determination and dissemination of time have been an essential part of the
Naval Observatory mission since its beginning. During that time clock
technology has evolved from precision pendulum clocks to quartz crystal
clocks to the present hydrogen maser and cesium-beam atomic clocks.
Similarly, time dissemination has evolved from the visual signal
represented by the time ball, to the telegraph beginning in the 1860s, to
radio signals and finally the Global Positioning System (GPS), for which
USNO supplies the time. Clock accuracy has advanced from one-thousandth of
a second with the most elaborate pendulum clocks at the beginning of the
century, to one billionth of a second per day with the present atomic
clocks. Time dissemination, accurate to a few tenths of a second with the
time ball, is now accurate to within a few billionths of a second with GPS.

Aside from maintaining the Master Clock of the United States, the
Observatory produces star catalogs, astronomical and navigational almanacs,
and conducts forefront astronomical research. It is building a "cesium
fountain" atomic clock to improve time accuracy ten-fold. It has
constructed the Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer, which will help
improve the celestial reference system and may discover Earth-size planets.
The Observatory accurately measures the rotation of the Earth using radio
telescopes around the world. And it continues a variety of efforts to
improve navigation by land, sea, air and space.

For more details on the millennium and USNO millennium activities, visit
the USNO Millennium Web site, http://www.usno.navy.mil/millennium/. Time
ball-related illustrations are available at this site. The USNO's main Web
site also has much information on the Master Clock and other USNO projects.
An electronic version of this Release, with digital images of the new time
ball, may be found at http://www.usno.navy.mil/ballrel.html


Source: USNO press release, August 19, 1999

Press Contacts: Dr. Steven Dick, (202) 762-0379, dick.steve@usno.navy.mil
                Geoff Chester, (202) 762-1438, grc@usno.navy.mil

See also:
Steven J. Dick: Commission 41 2000 and 2001 Time Ball Initiative.
ENHA No. 35, March 25, 1999, Item 1.

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Item 2                                           ENHA No. 39, Dec. 21, 1999
...........................................................................

Proposal for Observations with a Zoellner Photometer
----------------------------------------------------

By Klaus Staubermann, Cambridge, MA


During the past four years I have rebuilt a Zoellner astrophotometer and
practised with the replica. The original photometer, based on comparison
of starlight by means of polarisation, was designed by Karl Friedrich
Zoellner in 1858, and became the most popular single astrophysical
instrument in 19th century Germany. The reworking of Zoellner's photometer
and his observations was done to understand both the success of the
instrument and the scientific practice employed by Zoellner. This project
has been completed last year, and the rebuilt instrument is now on display
at the Dibner Institute (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass.

On this year's History of Astrophysics meeting in Tihany, Hungary, a plan
was discussed to use the rebuilt photometer for further observations. The
idea is to carry out systematic photometric measurements with the intention
to analyse, reduce, and complete Zoellner's photometric catalogue from
1861. Such a project would help us to homogenize the existing photometric
data, and make it available for contemporary astronomical research, such as
long-term variable stars.

A project of such nature could be carried out either by a dedicated amateur
or become a Masters or PhD Thesis in astronomy. I shall be most happy to
make the rebuilt photometer available for the time of such a project -
probably in the range of one to two years. I am also prepared to answer
any questions concerning the instrument, and Chris Sterken at the Institute
of Astronomy of Brussels University (csterken@vub.ac.be) would be most
willing to answer any questions regarding the photometric catalogue.
Further information can also be found in C. Sterken, K. Staubermann
(eds.): Karl Friedrich Zoellner and the Origins of Astrophotometry,
Brussels 1999, in print.


Author's address:
Klaus Staubermann
Dibner Institute
MIT E56-100
38 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139
USA
Tel.: +1-617-258-0507
Fax.: +1-617-258-7483
e-mail: kstaubermann@dibinst.mit.edu
URL: http://www2.crosswinds.net/~kstauber/

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Item 3                                           ENHA No. 39, Dec. 21, 1999
...........................................................................

Exhibition: Clocks and Scientific Instruments of the Hager Family
-----------------------------------------------------------------

By Guenther Oestmann, Hamburg


On December 10th an exhibition of the works of the Hager dynasty was
opened in the Ducal Library in Wolfenbuettel. Duke August was an ardent
collector of clocks and scientific instruments and his successor Rudolf
August, although not contributing to the cultural blossoming of the small
baroque residence, in 1668 appointed Wolfgang and Michael Tobias Hager as
clockmakers for the maintenance of the clocks, watches and scientific
instruments preserved in the Kunstkammer. Members of the family were
active in Wolfenbuettel, Brunswick, Arnstadt and Frankfurt until the end
of the 18th century. The exhibition shows a major part of the Hager oeuvre
from private and public property and a catalogue will be available at the
beginning of December.


Catalogue:

Guenther Oestmann:
Uhren und wissenschaftliche Instrumente der Familie Hager.
253 p., 175 b/w and colour ill., ISBN 3-927288-29-2, DM 29.00.
The catalogue can be ordered from the Staedtisches Museum, Am
Loewenwall, D-38100 Braunschweig, Germany.
Contents:
Clock- and instrumentmaking in Brunswick and Wolfenbuettel;
Catalogue raisonne of 54 works of the different members of the Hager
family; History of the Nocturnal and the Pedometer; Bibliography.


Opening times of the exhibition from December 11th, 1999 to February 27th,
2000, Tuesday to Sunday 10.00-17.00.

Herzog August Bibliothek
P.O. Box 1364
D-38299 Wolfenbuettel


Author's address:
Dr. Guenther Oestmann
Institut fuer Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften, Mathematik und Technik
Bundesstr. 55
D-20146 Hamburg
Germany
e-mail: oestmann@math.uni-hamburg.de

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Item 4                                           ENHA No. 39, Dec. 21, 1999
...........................................................................

Symposium Announcement: Astronomy of Ancient Civilizations
----------------------------------------------------------

JENAM-2000, the 9th Meeting of the European Astronomical Society (EAS) will
be held from 29 May to 3 June 2000 in Moscow, Russia, jointly with the 5th
Conference of the Euro-Asian Astronomical Society (EAAS). The conference
will cover the basic fields of astronomy and astrophysics and is open to
all astronomers who would like to interact and exchange their scientific
expertise with their European colleagues.

Invited reviews of outstanding problems of modern astronomy are expected
to be given at plenary sessions. Parallel sessions covering wide fields
of astronomy will also be organizes during the Conference. In addition,
poster sessions are expected to play an important role in this Conference,
addressing recent results, which, in general, cannot be included in the
detailed plan of the scheduled sessions. Joint discussions, two
colloquia and several associated symposia are also planned.


Associated Symposium: Astronomy of ancient civilizations

The symposium "Astronomy of ancient civilizations" associated to JENAM-2000
will be held on May 24-29, 2000 in Moscow. The basic topics of the
symposium will comprise a range of problems of archaeoastronomy,
ethnoastronomy as well as other diversified fields of research relevant to
the concept of astronomy in the context of the history of the culture of
ancient civilizations.

In addition investigations dealing with the problems of existence, survival
and the world outlook of ancient societies will be treated.

As a final panel discussion "Problems of ancient astronomy" will be
anticipated.

The main themes and sessions to be considered are:

1. Astronomical research of the oldest civilizations
2. Sun and ancient civilizations
3. Oldest observations of luminaries during the Stone Age
4. Astronomy of ancient societies of the Eurasian Steppe-Forest area
5. Astronomy of Ancient China
6. Astronomy of Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt
7. Astronomy of Ancient Greece
8. Astronomy of Mesoamerica
9. History of astronomy

contact address: E.N.Kaurov, e-mail kaurov@sai.msu.ru


More information:  http://www.sai.msu.su/jenam/



P R E-R E G I S T R A T I O N  F O R M

       Submit this form by normal post or fax to:
       JENAM-2000, Sternberg Astronomical Institute,
       Universitetskij pr. 13, 119899 Moscow, Russia;
       tel/fax: +7(095)9328844
       Deadline for pre-registration: December 20, 1999
       Direct questions to: jenam@sai.msu.su

== You will receive a confirmation from the LOC as soon as
your registration has been processed ==

Family Name:              First name:              Initials:
Title:  Professor    Dr.  Ph.D. Student   Mr.  Mrs. Miss

Affiliation for Name Badge:

E-mail:

Phone number:         Fax number:

Institution:

Postal address:


City:             Zip Code:              Country:

Accompanying person(s):

I am interested in session on:

Will you be presenting a paper? (YES/NO) 

If YES, preliminary title:

oral               poster

Preliminary interest in the type of hotel accommodation

University Guest House  (<20 USD)
Hotel nearby (20-50 USD)
Top-class hotel

Preliminary interest to long distance excursions (YES/NO) . . . . .
If es, which excursion do you select:


Date . . . . . . . . . . Signature: . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


[Announcement provided by Izold Pustylnik, e-mail: izold@aai.ee;
edited for ENHA.]

...........................................................................
Item 5                                           ENHA No. 39, Dec. 21, 1999
...........................................................................

Conferences 1999/2000
---------------------

(From: "Elektronische Mitteilungen zur Astronomiegeschichte" Nr. 45,
3. Oktober 1999, Item 5.)


Further conferences in the years 1999 and 2000 were reported in previous
issues of ENHA. For a complete list of all conferences announced see the
following URL:

http://www.astro.uni-bonn.de/~pbrosche/hist_astr/ha_meet.html


October 1-4, 1999, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Annual Convention of the Antique Telescope Society
Place: Dunsmuir Lodge and the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory
Activities: Tours of the 1.8 meter Brashear / Warner & Swasey telescope,
keynote address by Albert Van Helden, two invited lectures by Alan Batten,
papers sessions, and displays of instruments.
Contacts: Peter Abrahams, e-mail: telscope@europa.com

November 3-7, 1999, Pittsburg, PA, USA
75th anniversary meeting of the History of Science Society
Contacts: Fred Gregory, e-mail: fgregory@ufl.edu, or Edith Sylla,
e-mail: Edith_Sylla@ncsu.edu

March 31 - April 2, 2000, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England
British Sundial Society Conference
Place: Royal Agricultural College
Contacts: David Young (Secretary BSS), 112, Whitehull Road, London E4 6DW,
England, e-mail: davidsun@lineone.net

...........................................................................
Item 6                                           ENHA No. 39, Dec. 21, 1999
...........................................................................

Dunkin Autobiography Published
------------------------------

By Peter D. Hingley, London

(From: "Elektronische Mitteilungen zur Astronomiegeschichte" Nr. 43,
6. August 1999, Item 6.)


To mark the Eclipse on 1999 August 11 the Royal Institution of Cornwall is
publishing the manuscript autobiography of Edwin Dunkin (1821 - 1898), who
was born in Truro in 1821. The title adopted is 'A Far Off Vision; a
Cornishman at Greenwich Observatory'.

This document found its way to the RAS in 1970 and is now listed as RAS
Additional Manuscript 55. The actual launch will be performed by Patrick
Moore at Truro on Saturday 7 August. The text has been edited, and the
introduction written by myself and Miss Tamsin Daniel, Curator of Art and
Exhibitions, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro. Dr Allan Chapman has kindly
written a preface.

Dunkin worked at the Greenwich Observatory for over forty years, most of
them under Airy, and became Chief Assistant under Christie. He is also
famous for his beautiful book 'The Midnight Sky' whose genesis he describes
- it derived from what appears to have been the first ever series of
articles published in any general circulation magazine with monthly
illustrations of the sky.

Dunkin's autobiography gives much information and insight into the workings
of the Greenwich Observatory in his time, and describes the commissioning
of major Greenwich instruments such as the Airy Transit Circle, the Great
Altazimuth, the 11 3/4 inch refractor (later 28 inch) and the Reflex
Zenith Tube; he was also involved in, and describes, numerous other
operations such as the determinations of the longitudes of Paris, Brussels
and Valentia, Geomagnetic observations, and Airy's experiments to determine
the density of the Earth at Harton Colliery, of which Dunkin was
superintendent. Dunkin also gives detailed descriptions of many Cornish
antiquities and customs, of visits to Cornish copper mines, and the changes
in modes of transport during the nineteenth century.

Several appendices have been added, including the unpublished description
of Airy's earlier Gravity experiments in Dolcoath copper mine, Cornwall,
and his lengthy lecture on the Harton Colliery experiments.

The publication is being sold by the Royal Cornwall Museum and,
characteristically of the publications of local societies, is being printed
in quite a small edition. Could I therefore suggest that you should apply
as soon as possible if you want to obtain a copy; it is highly unlikely
that the volume will be reprinted.

The volume has 218 pages, spiral bound, and the price is GB Pounds 20.

Orders may be sent by post to:

The Director
Royal Cornwall Museum
River Street
Truro
Cornwall
TR1 2SJ

or, perhaps, preferably, FAXed to the RCM at 01872 240514. They can send
you a pro-forma invoice or you can use a credit card. If ordering direct
please give the following information:

Name
Address
Number of copies required
Your address
Delivery address (if different)
Telephone Number
Type of Card (VISA, etc)
Card Number
Expiry date
Signature.

Please mention this message if ordering direct. Alternatively you can
order through a bookseller, the ISBN being 1 898166 73 0.

I hope you will find the book interesting and worthwhile.


Author's address:
Peter D. Hingley, Librarian
Royal Astronomical Society
Burlington House
Piccadilly
London W1V 0NL
England
Tel.:   0171 734 4582 / 3307
Fax:    0171 494 0166
e-mail: pdh@ras.org.uk

...........................................................................
Item 7                                           ENHA No. 39, Dec. 21, 1999
...........................................................................

New Books
---------

(From: "Elektronische Mitteilungen zur Astronomiegeschichte" Nr. 43,
6. August 1999, Item 7. Partial translations by the editor.)


Birkmaier, Martin (Hrsg.): Totale Sonnenfinsternis 11. August 1999
[Total eclipse, 11 August 1999. - In German].
Augsburg: Intercon, 1999. 94 p., 15 x 21 cm, numerous ill.,
ISBN 3-9805116-1-8, DM 9.80 (pb)
[p. 9-22: Karl-August Keil, Zur Geschichte der Sonnenfinsternisse (on the
history of eclipses, with emphasis on Augsburg).
Distribution: Intercon GmbH, Gablinger Weg 9k, D-86154 Augsburg, Germany,
Tel.: 0821-414081, Fax: 0821-414085; URL: http://www.intercon-spacetec.de/]

Einsteinturm [Einstein Tower. - In German]. Texts: Christine Hoh-Slodczyk,
Juergen Staude. Berlin: Pitz & Hoh; Ludwigsburg: Wuestenrot Stiftung, 1999.
32 p., 12 x 23 cm, numerous ill., part. in colour, DM 7.50 (pb) +
shipping, DM 3.50 for students
[Appeared on the occasion of the restauration of 1997-1999, which is
described in detail after the history and dscription of the solar
observatory.
Distribution: Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, Sonnenobservatorium
Einsteinturm, Sekretariat, Telegrafenberg, D-14473 Potsdam,
Tel.: (0331) 288 2331, Fax: 288 2310, e-mail: soe@aip.de]

Krauss, Rolf: Astronomische Konzepte und Jenseitsvorstellungen in den
Pyramidentexten [Astronomical concepts and ideas about the hereafter in
the texts of the pyramids. - In German]. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz,
1997. XVI, 297 p., 34 ill., ISBN 3-447-03979-5, DM 128.00 (pb)
(Aegyptologische Abhandlungen ; 59)
[Also: Hamburg, Universitaet, Habilitations-Schrift, 1992]

Stern, Alan; Mitton, Jaqueline: Pluto and Charon.
Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 1997. 216 p., 23.5 x 16 cm,
ISBN 0-471-15297-8, $ 27.95, GBP 22.50 (hb)
[From the discovery of Pluto in 1930 to the current understanding of the
ninth planet and its moon, Charon. "Throughout the book, the authors bring
to life for the reader the personalities who, in some cases, have devoted
their careers to understanding this seductive and wonderfully complex
planetary system. In addition to Lowell, Slipher, and Tombaugh ... we
learn here of Hardie, Cruikshank, Christy, Andersson, Tholen, Buie,
Elliot, McKinnon, Jewitt, Luu, and others less well known outside the
realm of contemporary planetary astronomy." (Robert Millis)]
   Rezension:  R.Millis: Sky & Telescope 95 (1998) 6, 73-74
   Rezension:  P.Moore: The Observatory 118 (1998) 1144, 175

Wattenberg, Diedrich; Brosche, Peter: Archivalische Quellen zum Leben und
Werk von Franz Xaver von Zach [Archival sources on the live and works of
Franz Xaver von Zach. - In German]. Goettingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht,
1993. 89 p., facsim., ISBN 3-525-82122-0, DM 40.00 (pb)
(Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Goettingen.
Mathematisch-Physikalische Klasse. Dritte Folge ; Nr. 45)

...........................................................................

Acknowledgements
----------------

For information we thank all authors and in addition: 

Inge and Karl-August Keil, Izold Pustylnik, and Juergen Staude.

...........................................................................

Imprint
-------

Electronic Newsletter for the History of Astronomy (ENHA)

Published by the Working Group for the History of Astronomy in the
Astronomische Gesellschaft

Editor: Dr. Wolfgang R. Dick <wdi@potsdam.ifag.de>

All items without an author's name are editorial contributions.
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