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Bibliotheek / Beisbroek

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100 Years of observational Astronamy and Astrophysics

Code: GES0640
Auteurs: Miklos Konkoly Thege
ISBN: 9080553832
Korte beschrijving:
Miklós Konkoly Thege (1842-1916) was a wealthy Hungarian nobleman who established a private observatory at Ógyalla, nowadays a state institution known as the Konkoly Observatory. This interesting book is the proceedings of a workshop held in 1999 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Astronomical Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, based on the Konkoly Observatory. There are five parts to the book. The first is about the history of the Konkoly Observatory and its activities. Konkoly Thege was very active in instrumental matters - his book Praktische Anleitung ... (1883) was influential during the period when astrophysics was undergoing its first period of rapid development, and a copy of it exists in the SAAO collection. Konkoly was a pioneer in astronomical photometry and spectroscopy and made use of the Zöllner visual photometer as well as the schraffierkassette method for photographic photometry. The second part of the book is concerned with early astrophysics in various countries. The article on Japanese astronomy around 1899 (by M Takeuti) deals with a period not covered by articles in English. At this time, Japan was still recovering from the two centuries of isolation imposed by the Edo Shogunate, and research astronomy was just beginning. CD Laney's Astronomy in the Dismal Swamp, a quirky collection of stories about the Royal Observatory, Cape, follows. Other chapters deal with the Marseille Observatory and the French astronomer Jules Janssen (1824-1907). Two articles by J Hearnshaw and K Staubermann deal with the history of astronomical photometry in the third part. The fourth part is about early female astronomers and the difficulties they faced, including paragraphs on Dorothea Klumpke (who married Isaac Roberts), Agnes Clerke, Maria Mitchell and the famous ladies of the Harvard Observatory who worked on spectral classification and the Cepheid period-luminosity relation. Most of the last part is a fascinating account of the cosmological development of General Relativity by Einstein, de Sitter, Lanczos, Lemaître Friedmann and Robertson, and how they influenced and were influenced by the observers. Nowadays one tends to think of Edwin Hubble in connection with the expansion of the Universe, but he was only one of several to whom the credit for this work is due. The article on this subject by H Duerbeck and W Seitter attemps to give an unbiassed history of early developments.