AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 57. A Centennial Celebration of the Life and Work of George Ellery Hale
Solar, Oral, Tuesday, June 1, 1999, 10:45am-12:30pm, Continental Ballroom C

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[57.01] George Ellery Hale's Early Solar Research at Chicago,\\Kenwood, Harvard, and Yerkes Observatories, 1882-1904

D.E. Osterbrock (UCO/Lick Obs./UCSC)

Growing up in Chicago, George Ellery Hale, later the prime spirit in founding the AAS, was a precocious boy scientist. He was deeply interested in spectroscopy and astrophysics from an early age. His wealthy parents encouraged Hale's aspirations with magazines, books, and instruments, and he acquired his first telescope when he was 14. He knew as mentors classical astronomers S. W. Burnham and George W. Hough, but he preferred astrophysics and designed his own Kenwood Physical Obseervatory around a grating in a Rowland circle mounting, fed by a heliostat, both built for him by instrument-maker John A. Brashear. For his undergraduate thesis at MIT, Hale invented and (at Harvard College Observatory) demonstrated the spectroheliograph. With it, and a high-quality 12-in refractor at his later Kenwood Astrophysical Observatory (at the same site, the Hale family home, 4 miles from the present Hilton Hotel where the SPD, HAD and AAS are meeting) Hale did excellent solar research, especially on promineneces, flocculi, and the near-ultraviolet spectrum of the chromosphere. As a teen-ager and a young adult Hale traveled widely, and met several important piuoneer solar physicists, including Charles A. Young, Jules Janssen, Samuel P. Langley, and Henry Rowland. Hale designed Yerkes Observatory for solar and stellar research, and headed the solar work himself. One of his aims always was to compare other stars with the sun. Hale's telescopes, instruments, methods, and resulting papers will be described and illustrated by numerous slides.

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