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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[57.02] George Ellery Hale's Later Solar Research at Mount Wilson and Pasadena, 1905-1938

J. W. Briggs (Yerkes Obs., U. of Chicago)

This presentation will briefly review Hale’s most significant discoveries starting with his arrival in Pasadena and his installation of the Snow horizontal telescope. Details of a number of his important instruments will be illustrated with recent slides. The Snow telescope began at Mount Wilson as an expedition from the Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago. Funded at the start with the help of the Hale family fortune, the effort evolved quickly into the Mount Wilson Solar Observatory, which was supported by the Carnegie Institution from late 1904 on. Thereafter Hale continued with the development of the 60- and 150-foot solar tower telescopes and eventually the all-reflecting instrument at his remarkable solar laboratory in Pasadena. At the 60-foot, Hale and his collaborators found that magnetic fields were associated with sunspots; this achievement is regarded as Hale’s greatest discovery. In later years, he took special delight in the invention of a new form of the spectroheliograph -- the spectrohelioscope -- which allowed visual solar flare patrol. Perhaps the most beautiful of Hale's solar telescopes is, in fact, the most obscure one -- a small instrument built into the new National Academy of Sciences facility in Washington, D.C., in 1924. His personal involvement with the installation of this telescope illustrates the youthful enthusiasm characteristic of much of his approach to science.

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