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American Observatory History Portal May 12, 2009

Posted by Will Thomas in Uncategorized.

Cartoon on the foundation of Yerkes Observatory

Hump-Day History will probably be a day late this week—Chris is working on something, but is also wrapping up the semester.  In the meantime, I thought since we get some traffic through here that directs to other sites, it might be useful to put up a list of links to the histories of some major early American observatories.  I find the first step to getting a good grip on history is to get familiar with a wide range of players and institutions.  To do this, you don’t need any new fangled history—any old institutional history will do just fine, so long as you know the institutions exist.  A lot of institutions have put work into making the basic outlines of their history online, so if you need to bone up on your American observatory history, here are a few key institutional histories to get you going.  Remember, this is just a sketchy list of institutions with useful online histories, not a complete list of American observatories, or observatories with online histories.

Hopkins Observatory (1834, Massachusetts)

United States Naval Observatory timekeeping (1845)

Cincinnati Observatory (1843)

Detroit Observatory (1854)

Dudley Observatory (1856, Albany)

Barnard Observatory (1859, Mississippi)

Allegheny Observatory (1859)

Leander McCormick Observatory (1885, Virginia)

Lick Observatory (1888, San Jose, California)

Yerkes Observatory (1892, Wisconsin)

Mt. Wilson Observatory (1904, Pasadena)

Palomar Observatory (1936, San Diego County)

People interested might also visit Wikipedia’s List of Observatories, with links to information collected on many others from around the world—of course, it is Wikipedia, so the usual caveats apply, though astronomy and observatory history enthusiasts tend to be conscientious with details.



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