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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)


Page 153

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 


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