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Category Archives: Astronomy

Joel H. Metcalf Biography (Part 4)

Joel Hastings Metcalf Part 4: A Legacy of Discovery In 1910, Metcalf moved to Winchester, Massachusetts, where he continued his work as a preacher and found an eager audience, as demonstrated by his sermons being published in the local newspaper, the Winchester Star, on more than one occasion[1]. Of course,…

Joel H. Metcalf Biography (Part 3)

Joel Hastings Metcalf Part 3: From Amateur to Expert Following his period of study at Oxford and time of further rest away from his ministerial profession, Metcalf found himself in Taunton, Massachusetts, in 1904, where he had accepted a position at the Unitarian Church. He became associated with the Harvard…

Joel H. Metcalf Biography (Part 2)

Joel Hastings Metcalf Part 2: The Cultivation of a Passion Metcalf’s fascination with astronomy would prove to be much more than a youthful pursuit forgotten with age, though it would not be center of his professional life either. That role was left to his work as a preacher, a calling…

Joel H. Metcalf Biography (Part 1)

 Joel Hastings Metcalf Part 1: From An Early Age The Reverend Joel Hastings Metcalf was a passionate figure who made many important and fascinating contributions to the field of astronomy at Harvard during the early part of the 20th century. Being trained and educated as a minister, astronomy was not…

Boyden Observatory through the 60″ Rockefeller Reflector

The 60-inch Rockefeller Reflector is one of the main telescopes at Boyden Observatory, currently located in Bloemfontein, South Africa. It all started when Uriah A. Boyden, a mechanical engineer in Boston, MA, donated $238,000 to Harvard College in 1879 to extend astronomical research. With the newly acquired money, Harvard declared…

The Damon Telescopes

One of the biggest contributions of Edward Pickering, who was the director of Harvard College Observatory for 42 years (1876-1918), is initiating a program to map the variability of objects in the night sky [1]. One of the main consequences of this program was to collect a huge number of…

Open Access Publishing Made Easy for Conferences

Are you tired of how conference proceedings are currently published? Zenodo.org, created by OpenAIRE and CERN, and supported by the European Commission, now offers functionality that can help. The research community can now publish, preserve, cite and make their conference material (slides, posters, videos, white papers, reports) readily available using Zenodo, so that it…

Rediscovering the Horsehead Nebula

Rediscovering the Horsehead Nebula There are currently about 500,000 photographic plates residing at the Harvard College Observatory. The collection is unique in its coverage of the sky (both the northern and southern hemispheres), its coverage of time (data dating back to the 1880s), as well as its sheer size (the…

Asteroid 433 Eros, Part 3

The late 1800s and early 1900s was an era of immense astronomical focus on 433 Eros. During this time at Harvard College Observatory, a series of documents called Circulars were disseminated as a way to publish discoveries and other important findings by the observatory. One thing to note when reading…

Asteroid 433 Eros, Part 2

As explored in the previous post, asteroid 433 Eros was an area of major study at the turn of the 19th century. The first goal of studying Eros, in 1899, was to generate an accurate ephemeris for the asteroid. This feat was first accomplished by Chandler and Fleming of the…