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Edward Emerson Barnard


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I've heard of Barnard's Star (but not knowingly seen it), but never thought anything about the name, but then looking at an image of Barnard's Loop around Orion on another forum this morning I wondered who Barnard was.


It's all on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Emerson_Barnard), but he was born in 1857 in Nashville. He was interested in photography and was a photographers assistant at the age of nine. Aged 19 he got a 5 inch refractor, and a few years later discovered his first comet; he discovered two more in the next two years. While never graduating from university, he did work at the Lick Observatory.


During his astronomical career he:

- discovered the spokes of Saturn's rings (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rings_of_Saturn#Spokes)

- observed a nova and was the first to deduce that it was a stellar explosion

- Discovered the 5th moon of Jupiter (Amalthea), the first since Galileo in 1609

- Discovered Barnard's Star (subsequently named) had a very large proper motion

- Was a pioneering astrophotographer and cataloged a series of dark nebula, Bardard objects (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnard_Catalogue) his original paper outlining 175 of these objects is available online (http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu//full/1919ApJ....49....1B/0000015.000.html).


He died in 1923 (aged 66), and many examples of his astronomical photographs were published in 1927 as "A Photographic Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way" http://www.astrosurf.com/re/atlas_barnard_1927.pdf (printed over two volumes and only 700 copies of each printed which is why they now sell for >£700 each); a single volume of the book is now available and contains the original text and images apparently and costs less than £700 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Photographic-Atlas-Selected-Regions-Milky/dp/0521191432).


I just thought it was interesting to learn a bit more about the name.






Bardard's Loop: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnard's_Star

Edited by Craig
Fixed URLs
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No idea why some of the links don't work, sorry, I've tried editing them but they won't change. It's all relatively easy to find on Google if you hunt.



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No idea why some of the links don't work, sorry, I've tried editing them but they won't change. It's all relatively easy to find on Google if you hunt.




Fixed. :)

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I find it inspirational to read about these old pioneers.

I never really enjoyed history at school, all kings and queens and battles, but find the scientific and astronomical side of history fascinating.

Very nice read James, thanks :)

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The BAA historical section people sent me the full version of this article, which outlines the 'academic' disagreements that Barnard had with a British amateur astronomer Isaac Roberts, which was an interesting read:




I also have had a look at the articles on this page which are about Barnard:




And also this memoir about him published in the National Academy of Sciences:




I got hold of a "cheap" copy of this book which contains many of the widefield images Barnard captured (5-10 degrees wide, and not mosaics), and his drawings of the dark nebulae:




And I'm keeping an eye out for a £10 copy of this book which seems to chronicle his life and work:





The mount he had made for his photographic studies weighed 600kg and the drive was by a pendulum! There is a brief narrative about guiding, using "two spider-line cross-wires in the eyepiece" of his 'guide scope', and these were illuminated by "a small electric lamp by the aid of two small reflecting surfaces which throw the light perpendicularly in the wires." And some of the photographic plates he was exposing were exposed (and visually guided) for 10 hours, split across two nights! I was more amazed by the similarities between what our DSO images do now and what he was doing circa 1897 than the differences.


But a truly fascinating man, and I'm glad I stumbled on him and that I have had the chance to learn more about him.



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