EMA 37

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*                                                                         *
*          Herausgegeben vom Arbeitskreis Astronomiegeschichte            *
*                  in der Astronomischen Gesellschaft                     *
*                                                                         *
*                       Nr. 37,  22. Januar 1999                          *
*                                                                         *
*           Redaktion: Wolfgang R. Dick              *
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1. Peter D. Hingley: The Royal Astronomical Society's Library and Archives

2. Steven J. Dick: Commission 41 2000 and 2001 Time Ball Initiative

3. Symposium announcement: The Legacy of J. C. Kapteyn

4. Workshop announcement: One Hundred Years of Observational Astronomy and



Item 1                                          EMA Nr. 37, 22. Januar 1999

The Royal Astronomical Society's Library and Archives

By Peter D. Hingley, London

(Aus: Electronic Newsletter for the History of Astronomy, No. 33,
December 11, 1998, Item 1)

The Royal Astronomical Society has been accumulating books, manuscripts,
pictures, instruments and miscellaneous relics since its foundation in 1820
February. Originally only a `box of books', the Library has grown to
occupy quite a large proportion of the Society's premises in Burlington
House, Piccadilly, London, and has an open shelf stock of about 12,000
`modern' books (i.e. post 1850), about 4,000 books and pamphlets before
1850, and the remaining 16,000 volumes are bound periodicals, some of them
of great age. The Library is primarily a research library dealing with
modern astronomy and geophysics and seeks to maintain a balanced, if not
fully comprehensive, stock of books in those subjects. The majority of
serious journals in astronomy are held from volume 1. Many journals are
held dealing with the more theoretical aspects of geophysics but the
monographs stocks in this field are less complete. It also has extensive
collections for the history of astronomy, and some on that of geophysics.

The creme de la creme of the Rare Books is the collection bequeathed by the
late Colonel E H Grove-Hills on his death in 1923. The Library has also
subsumed the very interesting Library of the Spitalfields Mathematical
Society (1717 - 1846) though alas quite a lot of their books were
subsequently disposed of; we probably have about 800 left including journal

The RAS Archives were catalogued by Dr J A Bennett whose catalogue was
published as the last issue of the Society's Memoirs in 1978 (Volume 85).
Printed copies of this are still available. They include both the
administrative papers of the Society, and its correspondence with its
members, from the first days of its existence onwards, (and although there
are many famous names in those pages sadly this material can induce a
certain ennui in the researcher as much of it is purely administrative).
These are referred to as `RAS PAPERS' and `RAS LETTERS'.

Much more varied and interesting are the `RAS MSS', which is a wide ranging
collection of deposits of papers from individuals and a few observatories.
They include material from such interesting people as Sir James South,
Francis Baily, William Lassell, the complete run of Heinrich Schwabe's
sunspot observing books from which he derived his original results about
periodicity, Madras Observatory, and many more.

Overwhelmingly the most important group of manuscript material owned by the
RAS is its manuscripts of Sir William, Miss Caroline, and Sir John
Herschel. A microfilm of this is available (24 reels !) but until very
recently it has been stored in the archives strongroom of Churchill
College, Cambridge; it has just been returned to Burlington House.

The `ADD MSS' are an even more varied collection, including material in
many formats and types. Due to constraints of time and finance Dr
Bennett's catalogue was selective - generally the names listed of
correspondents are only those important enough to be in `Poggendorff's
Biographisch-Literarisches Handwoerterbuch...', and, alas, there is no
subject index. The latter problem has been partly (and laboriously)
addressed by having a scanned file made of the catalogue which has been
proof-read by myself and the corrections inserted - though inevitably there
are still some errors - so that simple searches can be done by names or
subjects. As time has gone on more material has come to light, and a
supplementary list is slowly being compiled, again in WORD so simple
searches are possible, though alas due to time constraints progress has
been painfully slow.

Numerous small manuscript items were discovered by searching through the
Library's `Tract' collection and things get found or are donated.
Interesting deposits of material added since Dr Bennett's catalogue have
included proof and MS versions of George Bishop's `Charts of the Ecliptic',
additional papers of James Glaisher, and observing material of the Revd
T E R Phillips, the Revd T W Webb, F J M Stratton, and A G Shrimpton. Some
work has also been done on the RAS's photographic holdings; the collection
is strong in portraits and photographs of telescopes and eclipse
expeditions. The collection of astronomical photographs is only now being
explored; there are varying numbers of prints by A A Common, Isaac Roberts,
Max Wolff and Paul et Prosper Henry while there are several thousand glass
plates in many varying formats some dating back to the 1860s. At long last
conservation enclosures and space are available for the sorting out of
these but again time is very limited.

One of the most frequent types of enquiry is for bio-bibliography of former
scientists and to assist with this type of enquiry a 9 page handout is
available on request, `Biographical and Portrait Sources for Astronomers'
(Bio-Paws for short !) which, although inevitably British orientated,
lists quite a lot of the sources for such study as well as acting as a
guide to RAS holdings.

The Library is not actually a public one and is maintained for and financed
by the Society. With a staff of only two it is difficult to deal with the
many public enquiries from people wanting to name stars after their
Granny (!) or see the next eclipse. We do however welcome many overseas
researchers each year and as far as possible answer incoming research
enquiries from non Fellows. It is really essential however that any
non-members wishing to use the Library should make contact in advance by
e-mail, telephone, or letter, especially if they wish to use special
collections material. They should also be prepared to prove their identity
with a University staff card or the like.

RAS Library's Web page: http://www.ras.org.uk/ras/library/library.htm

Author's address:
Peter D. Hingley, Librarian
Royal Astronomical Society
Burlington House
London W1V 0NL
Tel.: 0171 734 4582 / 3307
Fax:  0171 494 0166
e-mails:  Librarian:  pdh@ras.org.uk
Assistant Librarian:  mic@ras.org.uk
  General Enquiries: info@ras.org.uk

Item 2                                          EMA Nr. 37, 22. Januar 1999

Commission 41 2000 and 2001 Time Ball Initiative

By Steven J. Dick, Washington, D.C.

(From: IAU Comm. 41 Newsletter, 1997-2000 Triennium, October 1998,
Issue # 3. See

In conjunction with the arrival of the years 2000 and 2001, the U. S.
Naval Observatory and IAU Commission 41 "History of Astronomy" are
coordinating a worldwide time ball drop on New Year's Eve. The concept is
that as the new year sweeps around the world, time balls will be dropped at
midnight local time beginning in New Zealand, then Australia, South Africa,
Sweden, UK, and the Naval Observatory in Washington. These are the
currently active time balls that we are aware of. If you are aware of any
others, please let me know.

As you know, time balls were historically an important means of time
dissemination, and therefore an important part of the history of practical
astronomy. At the beginning of the century, 19 were being dropped in the
United States alone. We believe that this worldwide coordinated effort
will not only draw attention to the historical importance of time balls and
also to a small part of the history of astronomy, but also to the modern
means of time dissemination via the Global Positioning System.

Each site will be responsible for any associated celebratory activities.
At the Naval Observatory in Washington, we plan to invite the public to
celebrate the beginning of 2000 and 2001 by watching the time ball drop
from a mast near the dome of one of our telescopes. In conjunction with
this we will offer tours of the Observatory and views through the
telescope. These celebratory events will undoubtedly draw a good deal of
publicity; in the United States a consortium of broadcast media is planning
25 hours of continuous coverage worldwide for the new Millennium.

Information on the first time balls, erected in Portsmouth and Greenwich,
is found in Ian R. Bartky and Steven J. Dick, "The First Time Balls,"
Journal for the History of Astronomy, 12 (1981), 155-74. On the first
North American time balls see Ian R. Bartky and Steven J. Dick, "The
First North American Time Ball," Journal for the History of Astronomy, 13
(1982), 50-54; For the spread of time balls in the United States see Ian R.
Bartky, "Naval Observatory Time Dissemination Before the Wireless," in Sky
with Ocean Joined, Steven J. Dick and LeRoy Doggett, eds. (Washington,
1983), 1-28. The latter contains numerous illustrations of time balls, as
does Bartky's article "The Bygone Era of Time Balls," Sky and Telescope
(January, 1987), 32-35.

Item 3                                          EMA Nr. 37, 22. Januar 1999

Symposium announcement

                    THE LEGACY OF J.C. KAPTEYN

          An overview of Kapteyn's influence on astronomy

           Groningen, The Netherlands, June 9 - 11, 1999


     The University of Groningen was founded in 1614 and consequently will
be celebrating in 1999 its 385th anniversary. In this year we are less
than 2 years away from the end of the twentieth century and the beginning
of the third millennium. When the twentieth century started, Kapteyn had
just completed publication (between 1896 and 1900) of the "Cape
Photographic Durchmusterung", a work that established his international
fame and leadership. Kapteyn's influence on astronomy in the Netherlands
is still alive; in fact it may be safely stated that the success of Dutch
astronomy in this century has for a major part been derived from Kapteyn
through his work, his students and his strong commitment to international

     As part of the University's celebration of its lustrum a symposium
will be held which is organized by both the Kapteyn Astronomical Institute
and the History Department.

     The primary aim is to concentrate on issues related to the sociology
of Kapteyn's influence. It would be of interest to try to trace the
continuation of Kapteyn's initiatives in research, campaigns and
organizations by concentrating on both persons and themes.

     The symposium will last three days with six half-day sessions, mainly
made up of invited contributions. Speakers include W.E. Krul, 
W.T. Sullivan, W.R. de Sitter, M. Schmidt, D. DeVorkin, R. Smith,
G. Gilmore, M.A.C. Perryman, L. Woltjer and various members of the
Scientific Organizing Committee. The final program will leave ample time
for discussion. The symposium should be attended by an international
audience consisting of both astronomers with a historical interest and
historians of astronomy and natural science.

     More information about this symposium and how to register can be
obtained by visiting the symposium's web-page or sending an e-mail or
letter to the LOC. 


Scientific Organizing Committee: 

    Chairpersons:  Prof. P.C. van der Kruit, Prof. K. van Berkel
    Other members: Prof. A. Blaauw, Prof. M.W. Feast,
                   Prof. O. Gingerich, Dr. K.H. Kuijken, Prof. J.D. North,
                   Prof. D.E. Osterbrock, Dr. P.R. Wesselius 

Local Organizing Committee: 

    Chairperson:   D.H.N. Staal
    Other members: Prof. T.S. van Albada, T.A. Jurriens,
                   J.P. Terlouw, H.P. Zondervan-Kimsma 

    E-mail:        jck99@astro.rug.nl
    WWW page:      http://www.astro.rug.nl/~jck99/

    Post address:  Kapteyn Institute,
                   LOC Kapteyn Symposium
                   P.O. Box 800
                   NL-9700 AV Groningen
                   The Netherlands 

Item 4                                          EMA Nr. 37, 22. Januar 1999

Workshop announcement

               Homage to MIKLOS KONKOLY THEGE (1842-1916)

                  Tihany (Hungary), 13--15 August 1999

                          FIRST ANNOUNCEMENT


The purpose of this workshop is to mark the centenary of the founding of
the Konkoly Observatory in 1899 as a research institution of the Hungarian

The workshop will bring together international experts in the history of
observational astronomy and astrophysics to present papers on various
topics. These topics will relate to observational astrophysics in the era
when Konkoly himself was active.


The main topics to be covered will be:

- Solar, stellar and solar-system astrophysics

- Instrumentation, telescopes and observatories

- Scientific results and concepts in astrophysics

- The interaction between astronomy and fundamental physics, and the
  consequent birth of astrophysics

- The relationships between astronomers in the time of Konkoly and his

- International programmes in observational astronomy (such as Carte du
  Ciel and CPD) and catalogues (Harvard photometry and HD Catalogue, etc.)

- The formation of international organisations (International Solar
  Union, and later of IAU from the Astrographic Congress, etc.)

The workshop will explore topics such as these as they were in the half
century 1870-1920, which includes all the years when Konkoly himself was
active, from the time of his early interest in astronomy, the founding of
his private observatory in 1871, through to the time of his death in 1916
and to the building of the National Observatory at Svabhegy in Budapest in
the 1920s.

The workshop will not be devoted just to the life and work of Konkoly
himself, but will explore themes in international astronomy and
astrophysics current at the time of Konkoly and especially those which he
himself espoused.


Friday August 13 to Sunday August 15, 1999. The workshop follows on
immediately after the conclusion of IAU Symposium 176.


The venue is a Conference Center of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences at
Tihany, Lake Balaton, Hungary. Group transport from Budapest will be
organized on August 13 (Friday afternoon), busses will bring participants
back to Budapest on Sunday August 15.


Guesthouse-type accommodation on the premises of the same Conference
Center. We have booked a number of rooms with double and triple occupancy
for the nights of August 13 and 14. The cost for a double room (single or
double occupancy) is about DM 50 per night, a room for three persons is
about DM 75 per night. These prices do not include breakfast.


The number of participants is restricted to 25, and participation is by
invitation only. 


Interested participants are invited to register with the enclosed
registration form (which is also available at our website
http://www.vub.ac.be/STER/KONKOLY/tihany.html). The registration fee is
DM 120 and will cover one copy of the proceedings, the group transport
from Budapest to Tihany and back, the rent of the conference room, and 
simple breakfast (catered by ourselves) on the days of August 14 and
15. Cash payment is accepted at the moment of registration.


We welcome accompanying persons, and there is no charge for registered


We try to run the Workshop with almost no financial sponsoring. Therefore,
of the registration fee can exceptionally be granted to young participants
who are not supported by a home institute. Applications for such support
should be made well in advance of the meeting.


All oral papers will be included in the Proceedings, which will be
edited by C. Sterken and J. Hearnshaw.


Lajos Balazs
Hilmar Duerbeck
John Hearnshaw
Istvan Jankovics
James Caplan
Dimitar Sasselov
Anneliese Schnell
Klaus Staubermann
Chris Sterken
Endre Zsoldos
Mine Takeuti
Magda Vargha
Brian Warner
Gudrun Wolfschmidt

Scientific Organizing Committee:        |   Local Organizing Committee:   
Chris Sterken                           |   Magda Vargha 
University of Brussels                  |   Laszlo Szabados
Brussels, Belgium                       |   Endre Zsoldos
(csterken@vub.ac.be)                    |   (vargha@buda.konkoly.hu)
                                        |   (szabados@buda.konkoly.hu)
John Hearnshaw                          |   (zsoldos@buda.konkoly.hu)
University of Canterbury                |   
Christchurch, New Zealand               |   Konkoly Observatory
(j.hearnshaw@phys.canterbury.ac.nz)     |   Budapest, Hungary

 =                                                                     =
 =                         REGISTRATION FORM                           =
 =                                                                     =

               Homage to MIKLOS KONKOLY THEGE (1842-1916)
                  Tihany (Hungary), 13--15 August 1999

 Family Name:
 First Name:

 Postal address:   

 E-mail address:

 Number of accompanying persons (with numbers):

 Please complete if you wish to present a paper:
        Duration of talk:

 Accommodation: please indicate your choice:

     0 I prefer single occupancy 
     0 I wish to share a double room with:
     0 I wish to share a triple room with:

Return to: Chris Sterken, 
University of Brussels, Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium,
e-mail: csterken@vub.ac.be, fax: 32 93623976





Neben den Autoren sei fuer Informationen gedankt:

Chris Sterken (Bruessel) und dem LOC Kapteyn Symposium.



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