In a research paper on popular astronomical journals, Jordan Marché II (2005, pp. 49–50) refers to sociologist Stephen Hilgartner’s view on popularization as the process of “… simplifying science for the non-specialist …” This scientific knowledge was often conveyed by non-professionals such as journalists “… for a public that misunderstands much of what it reads.” Astronomy fascinated the public, and between 1869 and 1882 there were two transits of Venus, and also two total solar eclipses that were visible from the USA. Our aim in this book was to demonstrate that the education of the public, through such means as newspaper and journal reports of on these rare events, led to an increase in the number of non-professionals interested in astronomy, from the ‘invisible’ recreational star-gazer to the serious amateurs who actually were able to make a contribution to the science.
- Instructions for Observing the Total Solar Eclipse of July 29th, 1878, Issued by the U.S. Naval Observatory. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1878. p. 30 (Review). Astronomical Register, 16, 278 (1878).Google Scholar
- Orchiston, W. (1989). The role of the amateur in early Australian astronomy. Search, 20(1), 16–23.Google Scholar
- Stebbins, R. A. (1979). Amateurs – On the margin between work and leisure. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.Google Scholar
- Warner, D. J., & Ariail, R. B. (1995). Alvan Clark & Sons – Artists in OPTICS (2nd ed.). Richmond, VA: Willmann-Bell, Inc.Google Scholar
- Williams, T. R. (2000, May). Getting organized: A history of amateur astronomy in the United States (Ph.D. Thesis), Chapters 1, 2, 4.Google Scholar