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Meteor Astronomy at Home and Abroad

Part of the Springer Biographies book series (SPRINGERBIOGS)

Abstract

The early to mid-1930s witnessed six loci of scientific meteor study within the USA or with American astronomers’ supervision or collaboration: Flower Observatory (American Meteor Society), Iowa’s Midwest Meteor Association, Antarctica, Harvard College Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts and its Arizona outpost near Lowell Observatory, and, finally, the Society for Research on Meteorites formed in 1933 at Chicago.

Keywords

  • Meteor Work
  • Royal Astronomical Society
  • Meteor Section
  • Meteor Path
  • International Astronomical

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Theobald wrote articles for mathematical associations which are held by the JSTOR site; his topics were about teaching mathematics to undergraduates.

  2. 2.

    For example: Theobald, John A, Counts of the 1931 Perseids, PA, volume 39, 1931, p. 552. The SAO/NASA ADS search engine found seven articles authored by Theobald, 1931–1934, most of them individual and group meteor counts of the Perseid and Leonid meteors performed by his students at what is now known as Loras College. The SAO/NASA search was made on September 1, 2014.

  3. 3.

    Dissertation: The Cepheid Variable Eta Aquilae and the Eclipsing Binary Sigma Aquilae, Graduate School of the University of Illinois, 1922. Abstracts and summaries of Wylie’s dissertation results were reprinted in the Astrophysical Journal, volume 56, no. 4, 1922, pp. 217, 231, 232, and 241.

  4. 4.

    Wylie and Olivier sent announcement notices of the Tilden fall to Popular Astronomy within two days of each other in September 1927, and the notices were published within 20 pages of each other: Wylie, The Tilden Meteor, an Illinois Daylight Fall, PA, volume 35, 1927, 453–454; and Olivier, C.P., Meteor Notes, PA, volume 35, 1927, p. 473.

  5. 5.

    Wylie continued to be a methodological contrarian to Olivier and other meteor astronomers’ practice in one more respect: He and Fr. Theobald experimented with and advised how meteor counts could be made by groups with the group members’ data aggregated: Wylie, C.C., The Relation of Group to Solo Counts in Meteor Work, PA, volume 42, 1934, pp. 157–158 and How to Make Good Group Counts, PA, volume 42, 1934, pp. 596–598. The accepted practice, beginning with W.F. Denning and strongly insisted upon by Olivier, was that if people observed meteors in a group, each one should only report the data associated with meteors he or she had seen.

  6. 6.

    Olivier attested to Smith’s orbital calculation skill in a comment in one Meteor Note: “A paper by one of our own members, F.W. Smith…was read and favorably commented upon at the Dec mtg of the RAS, and appeared in the December Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. It concerned the meteor orbits connected with the Pons-Winnecke Comet”: PA. volume 41, 1933, p. 169.

  7. 7.

    The greatest number of degrees that can be reported, from the horizon to directly overhead, is 90°.

  8. 8.

    A full description of the “bull’s-eye” style reticle: Editor, Meteor Program in Connection with the Byrd Antarctic Expedition II, PA, volume 41, 1933, p. 283. The rectangular reticle is described in: Shapley, H., E. Opik, and S. Boothroyd, The Arizona Expedition for the Study of Meteors, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, volume 18, No. 1, 1932, p.18.

  9. 9.

    Entire list of funding sources were, “special grants were obtained from the Milton Fund of Harvard University, and from the Rumford Fund of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for preliminary experimental work. Larger grants from the Wyeth Bequest to Harvard University and from the Rockefeller Foundation made the expedition possible. Prof Boothroyd of Cornell University joined the expedition, and a grant from the Heckscher Fund of Cornell was obtained to cover a part of the expenses.”

  10. 10.

    The meridian is an imaginary line in the sky that joined due north and south horizon points through another one in the zenith.

  11. 11.

    One of Fisher’s articles on this topic: Fisher, WJ: Mass and velocity of Meteorites and the air density along their luminous paths. Harvard College Observatory Circular No. 385, 1934.

  12. 12.

    Her article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, volume 19, 1933, pp. 212–221, about meteor light fluctuations follows Fisher’s and may be a concise version of her thesis.

  13. 13.

    Watson did publish an article about the 1936 fireball: Watson, F., Jr., The detonating fireball of May 26, 1935, PA, volume 44, 1936, p. 131ff.

  14. 14.

    A “frequently asked questions” page on the American Meteor Society website cites the solar system-connected meteor velocity range. The Web site was accessed on May 7, 2016: http://www.amsmeteors.org/meteor-showers/meteor-faq/.

  15. 15.

    AMS observers whose data met CH’s criteria were: Brooks, Bunch, Darling, Geddes, Koep, LaPaz, McIntosh, Monnig, Olivier, Ridley, FW Smith, and Trudelle.

  16. 16.

    In this letter, Hoffmeister mentioned that he also sought assistance from Harlow Shapley.

  17. 17.

    In 1937, Olivier summarized a few of the Soviet meteor studies he received in some detail: Olivier, C., Meteor Notes, PA, volume 45, 1937, pp. 553–555.

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Taibi, R. (2017). Meteor Astronomy at Home and Abroad. In: Charles Olivier and the Rise of Meteor Science. Springer Biographies. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-44518-2_6

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