Whitford, Philip; Whitford, Kathryn (ed.) / Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume 69 (1981)
Osterbrock, Donald E.
Further links in the California-Wisconsin astronomical connection, pp. 153-162 PDF (4.7 MB)
FURTHER LINKS IN THE CALIFORNIA-WISCONSIN ASTRONOMICAL CONNECTION DONALD E. OSTERBROCK University of California, Santa Cruz There are numerous astronomical links railroads to use Central Standard Time in between California and Wisconsin, prob- the state.3 Up until then there was a twenty- ably more than between any other two states. minute difference between chicago and St. Many of them I outlined in a paper previ- Paul times, and the railroads changed time ously published in these Transactions,' but at Elroy. Holden was one of the professors I have since ' learned of still more connections who approached T. C. Chamberlin, then which are described in the present paper. with the United States Geological Survey, It all began with Lick Observatory, the about succeeding John Bascom as President first large research observatory in California. of the University of Wisconsin. Chamberlin Its first Director, Edward S. Hohden, came was interested in the position, but did not from the University of Wisconsin to Lick want to force Bascom out, and therefore and thus started the California-Wisconsin did not actually become President until after axis. Holden was tentatively selected as Di- Holden had heft for California.4 rector of Lick Observatory in 1874, many Holden was a member of the Wisconsin years before it was built on Mount Hamilton, Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters, and while he was still a young astronomer at the gave a paper on the Caroline Island eclipse Naval Observatory in Washington. Holden expedition at the W.A.S.A.L. meeting in left the Naval Observatory to become Direc- Madison on December 28, 1883. After he tom of the Washburn Observatory on the departed for California, he became a come- Madison campus of the University of Wis- sponding member of the Academy.5 When consin in 1881 when James Watson, its first he left Wisconsin, Holden presented several Director, died unexpectedly of pneumonia. books and pamphlets to the State Historical At Washburn, with the 15½-inch refmac- Society of Wisconsin, and also "a maro, or ton and the meridian circle, Holden observed covering of the loins, used by natives of positions of nebulae, stars and comets—the Tahiti . . . of both sexes, usually their only old astronomy of position. In 1883 he headed garment."6 a government-sponsored eclipse expedition Hohden enjoyed life in Madison and left to Caroline Island, a tiny atoll in the Pacific only because of the outstanding astronomical Ocean between Tahiti and Hawaii. It was opportunity at the new Lick Observatory. a three-month trip, in which he and the He wrote to B. A. Gould, a pmospe.ctive suc other astronomers travelled oven 12,000 cessom in his job as Director at Washburn:' miles by ship and railroad. They had to cross the Isthmus of Panama and change ships in Let me ask you to consider this letter as those days long before the canal had been strictly confidential. I expect to resign my built. At the eclipse Holden searched visu- position here ' on Jan 1/86, to take the L[ick} 1 O[bservatony]. I wish to know if you have auy ror a pianet closer to the sun than Men- any desire to take this Observatory. If you cumy but found none.2 . . would ' be willing I shd. like to be the means Holden advised Nibs P. Haugen, then Wis- of having it offered to you. With the excep consin Commissioner of Railroads, on intro- tion of the H[arvard] C[ollege] O'[bservatory]. ducing a bill in the legislature to require the I regard it as the most desirable college Obs. 153
Copyright 1981 Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters.| For information on re-use, see http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright